Heart often is the deciding factor for those who realize their major league dreams. That inner force also enables some to sustain, or resurrect their careers as well. Grady Sizemore's return to the game this season proved that his baseball passion remains intact.
After last playing for the Cleveland Indians in 2011, Sizemore had right knee surgery in September 2012 (which followed left knee surgery in May 2010) that eventually allowed him to sign a contract with the Boston Red Sox in January. Despite an early hot start, the soon-to-be 32-year-old (August 2) slumped and was released on June 18. The Phillies signed him six days later.
Philadelphia developed a myriad of offensive problems since its powerhouse days circa the late 2000s. Currently deficient in two outfield spots (center field and left field), general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. took a flier on this once-fine two-way player and sent him to Triple-A. The former three-time All-Star's (2006-2008) contract included an opt-out if he wasn't promoted to the majors before the second half of the season begins after next week's mid-summer classic takes place in Minneapolis.
Drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000, the Seattle native was traded, along with renewed teammate Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens, to the Indians in 2002, for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. One doesn't wonder why Montreal lost its fan base and its team after the 2004 season.
After completing an 11-game trial, the man who once ranked in the American League's Most Valuable Player Award voting for four consecutive seasons (2005-2008) was called up to Philadelphia this week. Manager Ryne Sandberg placed the left-handed hitter at the top of his lineup for the series-opening game against the Washington Nationals, which is the relocated Expos' franchise.
With an extensive injury history, including three total knee surgeries, sports hernias, back and elbow surgery, this nine-year veteran has overcome plenty to play the game he loves. Now that spirit has lifted Sizemore back to the field, consistent production must be maintained in order to allow his inspiring story to continue.