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Grady Sizemore takes optimism to another level in Red Sox win

03.17.14 at 5:03 pm ET
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Grady Sizemore falls to the ground after making stellar first-inning catch. (AP)

Grady Sizemore falls to the ground after making stellar first-inning catch. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The talk of camp just got a bit louder.

Grady Sizemore, who has been one of the main focuses of Red Sox spring training, took any optimism surrounding the outfielder to a new level in the Sox’€™ 10-5 win over the Cardinals Monday.

Not only did Sizemore come away with three hits ‘€“ including a double ‘€“ but he also made to standout catches that left the JetBlue Park crowd buzzing.

“Obviously, a very good day,”€ said Red Sox manager John Farell. “Both sides of the ball. Very good defense. Fearless, as we saw. And as we’€™ve talked about, the timing at the plate. Left-handed pitching, right-handed pitching, he puts very good swings on some pitches. And maybe a little bit of a flashback to how good Grady was for a number of years.”

Sizemore made an impression out of the gate, tracking down Daniel Descalso’€™s drive to center in the first inning. The center fielder hauled in the blast just before crashing in the wall and tumbling to the ground.

“€œIt kind of crept on me before I knew it was there,” he said. ‘€œThe wind was blowing pretty good. I hit it pretty hard, but it hit me so fast I wasn’€™t able to brace so it didn’€™t hurt too bad. I’€™m sure I’€™ll be a little sore tomorrow, but I was lucky to catch it and come out with no injuries.”

“€œI think you’€™re leery of any player crashing into walls,”€ Farrell said. “He plays instinctually, he plays full out, and to ask a player to be less than that, that’€™s a difficult request. He knows one way to play. So far, so good.”

Sizemore came back later in the game and seemingly one-upped his previous effort in the seventh inning, leaving his feet to make a diving stab of John Jay’€™s liner.

Most important for the outfielder, was to come away with yet another day of not worrying about physical issues.

“€œI feel good,’€ he said. ‘€œI haven’€™t had one day where I was like, ‘€˜I don’€™t know if I can play today.’€™ Or, ‘€˜This might be too much.’€™ I can’€™t really say because I haven’€™t pushed it yet, but the important thing is I feel good enough to keep going out there every day and just build off of that.

“€œI’€™m testing it every day. I try and keep pushing myself My goal is to get better every day. As long as I’€™m doing that I’€™m in a good spot. So I’€™m just going to keep pushing and go from there.”

- The Red Sox added to their American League-leading spring training home run total, hitting three more to push their total to 23. Dustin Pedroia (1), Mike Napoli (3) and Ryan Lavarnway (2) all sent homers over to the left field wall.

“€œI think more than anything, we’€™re starting to see their timing at the plate get a little bit more refined,” Farrell said. “€œBoth guys (Pedroia and Napoli) have been aggressive at the plate in their proper counts. You see with the ability to pull the ball a little more regularly, particularly Pedey with what he is coming off of. Yeah, I think for the majority of our everyday guys, you’€™re seeing that timing more honed in.”

- John Lackey struggled a bit in his five-inning outing, allowing five runs on six hits while throwing 60 pitches (39 for strikes). But the starter explained that the appearance still offered encouragement considering it marked the first time he implemented a cutter all spring.

“He was up in the zone a little bit more than we’€™ll typically see from John,’€ Farrell said. ‘€œThat’€™s all part of spring training. You get back into the mindset of physically building him up. A good work day.”€

 

 

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