GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Grady Sizemore is unlikely to start the season on time after straining his back as he fielded ground balls in the outfield.
""While rehabbing his right knee approximately two weeks ago, Grady sustained a lower back strain and is presently rehabbing that condition,'' head trainer Lonnie Soloff said this afternoon. ""At the present time he has ceased baseball activities. A return to baseball activities is strictly dependent on his response to treatment.''
Sizemore had been conditioning his right knee back to normalcy after missing much of the 2011 season because of a deep bruise in the knee (and sports hernia) that eventually required surgery.
'""A reasonsable assessment -- and it's early -- is that it's unlikely he will be ready for Opening Day,'' Soloff said.
Even if the back problem were to subside in a few days, Sizemore would be behind in his spring preparation.
The most likely scenario is that Michael Brantley will move from left to center in Sizemore's absence. However, it's possible that Brantley will stay in left and another outfielder -- possibly someone who otherwise wouldn't have made the team -- will play center.