CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Manny Acta made sure he got a close look at Grady Sizemore's progress on Wednesday afternoon. A few hours before Cleveland's game against the Mariners, Acta threw to the sidelined center fielder in an early round of batting practice.
Sizemore is still has a long way to go in his return from back surgery, but taking swings in the batting cage is a major step forward.
"He looked good for the first time," Acta said. "He swung the bat good, but it's just a start. We're not going to rush anything. He's going to continue his rehab, and I'm anticipating that he's going to go on a rehab assignment where he's going to have plenty of at-bats before he comes up here and plays."
Sizemore, who underwent a micro disectomy procedure on his lower back on March 1, will be eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on June 3. Acta said on Wednesday, however, that it is unlikely that the center fielder would be ready to rejoin the Indians' lineup by that day.
"I doubt that we'll be able to meet that date," Acta said. "I can't sit here and give you a timetable. He has to finish the strengthening program with his legs and then be declared ready to compete. It's not just about baseball."
Sizemore, 29, has been hitting, throwing and doing running and agility drills as part of his rehab from the back surgery, as well as the knee issues that have dogged him over the past two years. The veteran outfielder noted earlier this month that he hopes to return to Cleveland's lineup before July, though the team has not confirmed that potential timetable.
As things currently stand, the Tribe's outfield consists of right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, center fielder Michael Brantley, left fielder Johnny Damon and reserve outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Shelley Duncan. Prior to his injury, Sizemore was in the plans as the regular center fielder with Brantley in left. The Indians plan on being cautious with Sizemore's return.
"We're going to take everything out of his hands," Acta said. "He's going to follow everything that we have mapped out, and he's not fighting anything. He knows this is serious stuff."
Tomlin waiting for diagnosis on wrist injury
CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin wishes he knew the specific cause behind his current right wrist injury. Beyond not being able to pitch right now for the Indians, the uncertain nature of his ailment is the source of the most frustration.
"Hopefully we'll get some more answers," Tomlin said on Wednesday afternoon. "That's maybe the most frustrating thing. There's not one particular thing that I did that I can say, 'If I didn't do that, we could've prevented this.'"
Tomlin is currently on the 15-day disabled list and, while he is eligible to be activated on May 23, the right-hander is not sure when he will be able to rejoin the rotation. The pitcher indicated that he is scheduled to undergo a follow-up MRI exam on Thursday to possibly gain more clarity about what is causing the pain in the top of his wrist.
The only theory that Tomlin (1-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six outings this season) has come up with is that he needed to grip the baseball tighter while pitching in wet conditions against the White Sox on May 7. His right wrist began hurting that night and the discomfort did not subside in the subsequent days. Tomlin has since seen hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland.
Right-hander Zach McAllister is currently filling Tomlin's spot on the starting staff.
Tomlin did not believe surgery was going to be necessary.
"I don't think so," said Tomlin, who was wearing a removable brace on his right arm.
Indians manager Manny Acta said it is still too soon to project when Tomlin will be able to come off the disabled list.
"We don't know yet," Acta said. "We have to wait until after he sees the doctor again. After that, then they'll make a decision. If everything is clear, I don't think he has to go down and stretch himself out or anything like that. It'd probably be some type of long toss program, bullpen and go get 'em."
Indians hoping Hannahan's MRI comes back clean
CLEVELAND -- The Indians are hoping to have Jack Hannahan back in the lineup as soon as possible, but the ballclub is taking the necessary steps to determine the extent of the third baseman's current back issue.
On Wednesday, Indians manager Manny Acta noted that the team is awaiting the results of an MRI exam on Hannahan's back. After the team's medical staff analyzes the results, Cleveland will be better able to determine whether Hannahan needs to be placed on the disabled list.
"We'll have to wait until the image comes back," Acta said, "and see how he shows up [on Thursday]."
For Wednesday's game against the Mariners, Jose Lopez got the nod at third base, making it the third straight game that he has filled in for the injured Hannahan. The Indians initially described the injury as back tightness.
Through 30 games for Cleveland this season, Hannahan has hit .287 with three home runs, six doubles and 18 RBIs. The third baseman has been one of the Tribe's top performers with runners in scoring position, batting .393 (11-for-28) with 17 RBIs with RISP.
Indians get on board 'Buses for Baseball' program
CLEVELAND -- Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano knows that a little bit of his time can mean the world to a young fan. That is one of the main motivations for the pitcher to take part in Wednesday's "Buses for Baseball" program at Progressive Field.
"You never know where the next Cleveland Indians are going to come from," Pestano said. "To have the chance to be able to inspire kids to play hard and work hard, that's an opportunity you don't want to pass up."
Pestano, along with Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, starter Justin Masterson and catcher Lou Marson, spent some time prior to Wednesday's game with a group of 50 children with the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland. The group was provided with round-trip transportation to the night game against the Mariners and offered a chance to meet the players, and receive free tickets, food and souvenirs.
Throughout this season, the "Buses for Baseball" program will provide transportation and meet-and-greets with players for more than 750 underprivileged kids attending big league ballgames. When asked about helping out with the initiative, Pestano jumped at the chance.
"I think it's important for us, when we're in this position, to be able to give back," Pestano said. "Some guys do a lot of charitable work through their wallet and that's great, but I'm not in a position to do that ... My time has to kind of speak for me with stuff I do during the offseason. During the season, it's a lot tougher, so you kind of have to do it when you can.
"Opportunities like this, when the kids are coming to the field, that's really tough to pass up on. It's important that we go out there and show support for them, because they're showing support for us.
Indians left-hander Rafael Perez, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left lat muscle, threw off the mound in a bullpen session on Wednesday, Manny Acta. Cleveland has not announced a potential timetable for Perez to rejoin the bullpen.
The Indians' pitching staff entered Wednesday with a ground ball-to-fly ball ratio of 1.50 (507/339). That marked the third-best mark in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Blue Jays (1.65) and Cardinals (1.63). Cleveland's 507 grounders were the most in baseball.
Double-A Akron outfielder Jared Goedert went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and three RBIs in Tuesday's 8-1 win over Erie. On the season, Goedert is hitting .383 with a .468 on-base percentage, which both rank first in the Eastern League.
Quote to note
"Even when he's not hitting home runs and producing like he's capable, he gets on base. And he can run. He's been good there, and he's going to be there up until three or four guys change our mind."
-- Acta, on having Shin-Soo Choo hit in the leadoff spot