Phillies Notes: Grady Sizemore signs minor-league deal with Phils

Outfielder Grady Sizemore hit .216 with two triples and two home runs in 52 games with the Boston Red Sox this season, after winning a roster spot in spring training. He sat out the previous two seasons.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore hit .216 with two triples and two home runs in 52 games with the Boston Red Sox this season, after winning a roster spot in spring training. He sat out the previous two seasons. (DAVID MAXWELL / Getty Images)
Posted: June 26, 2014

The Phillies took interest in Grady Sizemore's comeback last winter, but not the way the Red Sox did. Boston offered Sizemore, 31, a guaranteed major-league contract.

The Red Sox released the former Cleveland Indians star on June 18 after 205 mediocre plate appearances and a .216 batting average - significant because no outfield corps is worse than Boston's.

On Tuesday, the Phillies decided Sizemore was worth the zero risk of a minor-league deal. The talented but often-injured Sizemore will report Thursday to triple-A Lehigh Valley for an audition in center field.

"Well, I'd like to have more production in the outfield," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's pretty simple. If, after watching him play in Lehigh Valley, we think he's going to help us, then we'll bring him."

Sizemore's contract contains an out clause for sometime in July. He can earn a prorated $1.25 million if summoned to the majors, according to an ESPN.com report.

The organization has little outfield depth; Sizemore does provide that, at least. He was healthy, by all accounts, during his brief time with Boston.

But Sizemore did not produce after an impressive spring in which he sprayed line drives around Grapefruit League ballparks. His .612 OPS, 16 points better than Domonic Brown's and three points below Ben Revere's, was middling.

Brown did not start Tuesday; he was replaced in left by John Mayberry Jr. Manager Ryne Sandberg thought it best to give Brown "a little mental break." He pinch-hit in the sixth inning, striking out swinging but reaching base on a wild pitch.

Sandberg would not say whether Brown would return to the lineup Wednesday.

Sizemore could gain playing time if the Phillies trade one of their outfielders. Marlon Byrd may draw interest in July, as could Mayberry.

During a four-year period with Cleveland, Sizemore was one of the game's better outfielders. He posted an .868 OPS from 2005-08, but seven surgeries - including microfracture procedures on both knees - derailed his career.

Sizemore did not play in 2012 or 2013 before launching this comeback attempt.

"More than anything else, when you take that much time off, it takes a long time - much longer than people think - to get your feet back on the ground," Amaro said.

"We'll see what he has in the tank. We believe in the athlete."

Extra bases

Cliff Lee (strained left elbow) threw another bullpen session Tuesday. He could progress to a simulated game Friday or Saturday. "There's still barely something there, but it's not getting any worse," Lee said. "It's continuing to get better." . . . Third baseman Maikel Franco and shortstop J.P. Crawford were selected to play in the annual Futures Game, a showcase for baseball's top prospects. The game is July 13 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

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