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Catching up with last year’s big spring training story, Grady Sizemore

03.15.15 at 4:13 pm ET
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CLEARWATER, Fla. — The excitement of spring training is a little different this time around for Grady Sizemore.

The outfielder who showed the Red Sox enough last spring to get an Opening Day start despite not having played major league ball for two years, is now with the Phillies, vying for a job in left field.

A year ago, Sizemore was a topic of conversation every day. Now he sits almost anonymously in the Philadelphia clubhouse, just trying to build off a 2014 campaign which saw the 32-year-old play in a combined 112 games with the Sox and Phils.

“There were moments where you feel like it’s coming back and then there were moments where you kind of feel a little lost,” said Sizemore, who hit .216 with a .612 OPS in 52 games with the Red Sox before being released. “I think it’s more of being away from the game for so long. There were some bright spots and some down spots. Just being able to find that comfort zone where you’re not going through those long stretches where you feel you don’t have it.”

Sizemore has struggled thus far in camp, with his average dipping .105 after going 0-for-2 in the Phillies’ 11-4 win over the Red Sox. It’s not exactly the display he put on while sending a buzz through Sox camp a year ago.

“Pretty similar,” said Sizemore when asked how he felt compared to this time last year. “Obviously I feel like made some gains physically. It’s just nice to have some time underneath you, building more reps. I’m just building off of that and moving forward.

“I felt like I was as in a good a position I could have got in, having not had a spring training in so many years. It was just more a matter of getting the reps. It was one of those things of just needing the reps and time.”

After being cut loose by the Red Sox, Sizemore did bounce back somewhat when joining the Phillies. The lefty hitter played in 60 games with Philadelphia, hitting .253 with a .701 OPS.

Yet, even after working his way back with the help of Red Sox physical therapist Dan Dyrek, and getting a full big league season under his belt, Sizemore hasn’t locked into where he needs to be to feel fully confident.

“It’s just a matter of seeing the reps, seeing pitches and getting the work in. I still don’t really know where the norm is for me physically,” said Sizemore, who dropped a line-drive while trying to make a sliding catch in the fourth inning. “You’re just trying to continue to get gains and improve from the baseball side and the physical side. I still feel like I’m working through some things and there’s still improvements to be made, but I just don’t know where that ceiling is.”

No matter what transpires this spring or during the regular seaosn, Sizemore points out he will ever have a soft spot in his heart for the Red Sox organization.

“I just loved it there,” he said. “There’s nothing like playing at Fenway, playing for that team, that organization. I definitely wish I could have been more consistent and stayed there and had more success there. But I’m happy to be here now. I think it’s a great opportunity for me. A great organization to be a part of. I’m grateful for my time there, and now I’m just looking forward.”

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