Before Sunday's game, I wasn't thrilled with Indians manager Manny Acta's decision to put Grady Sizemore in the leadoff spot in his first game back from microfracture knee surgery.
My initial reaction was that Sizemore belonged fifth, sixth or ninth, presuming he would need time to regain his timing at the plate.
After he went 2 for 4 with a home run in his 2011 debut, I may be wavering. But I still don't believe Sizemore should bat first when Michael Brantley is in the lineup. (That wasn't an issue Sunday, since Acta sat Brantley.) Acta said Sunday that Brantley would bat in the bottom third of the order on days when they both play.
Brantley has the skill set needed for a No. 1 hitter, a skill set one would think was lost by Sizemore when he underwent the knee surgery. No one expects him to steal 30 bases any more, like he did in 2007 (33) and 2008 (38). Is there any reason to believe Sizemore will no longer strike out more than 100 times a season, as he did from 2005-2008, with a high of 155 in 2007?
Sizemore seemed fine for the leadoff spot when the Indians didn't have a real leadoff hitter. But now that they seemingly have found one in Brantley, I believe Sizemore needs to bat lower.
Before the game, I thought Acta put Sizemore there on Sunday as a sign of respect, to show that he considers him the Indians' leader, the face of the franchise, a la Derek Jeter with the Yankees. Evidently that's not the case. It sounds as if Sizemore will lead off whenever he plays. At the moment, I need to hear more from Acta to be convinced that's the right move.
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