Sep 4, 2009, 6:20 PM EDT
It was just a matter of when Grady Sizemore would undergo surgery on the elbow that’s bothered him for months. He’d indicated that he intended to finish the year and then undergo the procedure, and he likely would have followed through on that had the Indians been in contention. Of course, that hasn’t been the case for months.
As a result, he’s opted to shut it down now, even though he’s coming off his best month of the season. He hit .299/.385/.486 with four homers and 23 runs scored in 26 games during August. Overall, he was batting .248/.343/.445 in 436 at-bats. Especially after factoring in defense, he’s still been a fine regular for the Indians. However, he was down 70 points from his career OPS.
Replacing Sizemore will be Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe. Brantley, as the better defensive center fielder, may have the edge when it comes to playing time, even after Crowe returns from his strained oblique. The 22-year-old Brantley, a product of the CC Sabathia trade with the Brewers, was a disappointment in Triple-A this year, coming in at .267/.350/.361 in 457 at-bats. However, he walked more often than he struck out (48/59 K/BB ratio) and he stole 46 bases in 51 attempts.
Crowe hit .297/.401/.400 in 185 at-bats for Columbus. He’s at .208/.271/.283 in 106 at-bats for the Indians. He’s three years older than Brantley, and the Indians really do need to find out whether he should be in their plans as more than a fourth outfielder going forward. He might be a reserve on next year’s club, particularly if Matt LaPorta remains primarily a left fielder. Brantley is too young for such a role and could well find himself beginning a second straight year in Triple-A in 2010.
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