Tigers recall Sizemore from Triple-A
Opening Day second baseman likely to see time at third
DETROIT -- Scott Sizemore's second chance in the big leagues is going to come at third base, at least for now. The Tigers recalled their Opening Day second baseman from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, setting in motion their plan to replace injured Brandon Inge.
Sizemore takes the roster spot of right-handed reliever Casey Fien, who was optioned back to Toledo a day after he was called up to provide some bullpen depth. But Sizemore essentially takes the spot of Inge, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after fracturing a bone in his left hand that is expected to keep him out 4-6 weeks.
Sizemore arrived from Pawtucket, where the Mud Hens were playing, in time for batting practice, but was out of the lineup Wednesday night. He'll get his first start at third Thursday against the Blue Jays, and then alternate games with Don Kelly for a little while before taking the bulk of the starts.
"It's not going to be a platoon thing at some point," manager Jim Leyland said. "Whenever it looks like he is ready on a regular basis, I'll probably play him more than Kelly. But I'll also play Kelly some, or possibly [Ryan] Raburn. [Danny] Worth can play there."
Sizemore started at third base for Toledo on Tuesday night after playing just three games there all season. It could well end up a case of opportunity being the mother of redemption.
Sizemore is primarily a second baseman and opened the season there for Detroit before his struggles at the plate led to a demotion to Toledo in mid-May. He batted .206 (20-for-97) with five doubles, a home run and eight RBIs with the Tigers, but the offensive versatility that led Detroit to start him returned a good bit with the Mud Hens.
"I went down there and I tinkered around with my swing a little bit," Sizemore said after arriving at Comerica Park Wednesday afternoon. "I felt comfortable enough making the adjustments that I needed to, whereas up here, I just wanted to feel as I could for that day and I couldn't make that major adjustment that I needed to make offensively. It clicked there a couple weeks into Triple-A and I've been trying to stay consistent ever since."
While Sizemore owns a .329 average with six homers and 19 RBIs in Toledo, it's his more recent numbers that caught the Tigers' attention. He's hitting .375 (15-for-40) with three doubles and three homers in nine games since being activated from the disabled list July 6. A muscle strain in his hip that landed him on the DL last month might still be a bit of concern, but he said it's getting better.
"It's pretty good," Sizemore said. "It's still sore at times, but as long as I'm getting into the training room and getting my treatment, it seems to be getting better."
Leyland quashed any idea of returning Sizemore to second and moving Carlos Guillen to third, saying, "You can rule that out," Tuesday night. Guillen shifted to second once he returned from the DL in May as a way to fit him in the same starting lineup with rookie slugger Brennan Boesch. Guillen, who started at third for half of the 2008 season, is batting .264 with 10 doubles, four homers and 22 RBIs in 43 games since coming back, and Leyland is set on giving him one position to handle.
That leaves Sizemore looking at third, where he said he hasn't played on a regular basis since his summer ball days in the Cape Cod League. He expects to make the adjustment, but he said he's going to need to get in his work during pregame practice.
"It's quite a bit different, but at the same time, you kind of just see the ball and catch it most of the time," Sizemore said. "There's a little different topspin on balls, so that's going to be one thing I'll have to get used to. It's just going to come with a little time, but I think if I hit the ground running, I should be all right."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.