Grady Sizemore earned the same reputation while patrolling center field in Cleveland that is given to most Gold Glovers.
A two-time Gold Glove winner with the Indians, he became known for his all-out hustle and aggressive style.
“He’ll run through a wall,” sportswriters declared.
His style compared to Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, who suffered through multiple nagging injuries last year partly because of his aggressiveness.
Despite putting his body at risk, Sizemore, in ironman-fashion, played 639 out of a possible 648 games from 2005-08. He appeared in all 162 games during both 2006 and ‘07.
But time and luck caught up with the center fielder in 2009. Since then, he has undergone seven surgeries. Sizemore, 31, hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2011, when he played 71 games with the Indians.
Sizemore has been the talk of Red Sox spring training so far as the three-time All-Star, who has finished in the top 12 in the AL MVP voting three times, attempts a comeback.
So far, so good. He has emerged as the favorite — over Jackie Bradley Jr. — to win the Opening Day center field job with the disclaimer “if he remains healthy.”
He entered Friday batting .308 (4 for 13) with a .357 on-base percentage in spring training. Obviously the sample-size is limited. He has played back-to-back games, a step in the right direction.
Without question, Sizemore, who blasted 33 homers in 2008, could provide a high reward for the Sox if healthy.
The Indians understandably declined his 2012 club option for $9 million but then re-signed him to a one-year, $5-million deal despite him missing significant time the previous three years. That should tell you something.
“At the time we signed Grady, we knew that there was some risk,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti said in 2012, according to MLB.com.