CLEVELAND -- Just this once, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti agreed to lift his personal policy of not commenting on offseason rumors. Antonetti wanted to put to rest reports that indicated he was considering trading Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona.
Antonetti's decision to address the recent rumors came Thursday night, when he and Indians manager Manny Acta fielded questions from fans during a Town Hall meeting in downtown Cleveland. It was the perfect setting for Antonetti to quash the reports once and for all.
"I normally don't get into individual rumors," Antonetti said. "This one time, I will comment on it. We have not had a single discussion about potentially trading Grady Sizemore. Now, there are teams that call us all the time to ask about our players -- that's just the nature of the business.
"They'll ask about almost everyone on our roster at different points in the offseason, but I can tell you at no point have we contemplated trading Grady, and we have no intention of trading Fausto, either."
Antonetti's comments came after an online report surfaced Monday on MASNsports.com, citing a scout, claiming that the Indians and Nationals have had "conversations" about dealing Sizemore and Carmona to Washington. The rumor gained steam as the week went on, leading Antonetti to shoot it down publicly.
"That's called the power of the internet," Acta told the fans with a laugh. "If you want to create another buzz, just go home today and log in and say that you heard that we're going to trade [highly touted prospect] Jason Kipnis for [Yankees shortstop] Derek Jeter."
Sizemore is very much in the plans as Cleveland's center fielder and Carmona as the Tribe's No. 1 starter for the upcoming season. The only unanswered question at the moment is whether Sizemore -- making his way back from microfracture surgery on his left knee -- will be in the lineup come Opening Day.
Antonetti said that remains the goal.
"Thankfully, his rehab has gone as well as we could've expected," Antonetti said. "He's met every checkpoint along the way. He had a recent visit with Dr. [Richard] Steadman out in Colorado last week. That went very well and he's continued on his rehab progression."
Steadman, who performed the surgery on Sizemore in June, has met with the center fielder multiple times this winter to evaluate his progress. Sizemore, 28, is currently taking part in baseball activities, including hitting and throwing, and Antonetti said the outfielder is "getting to the point of running."
If everything goes according to schedule, Sizemore could be ready to take part in Cactus League games by mid-March with the hope of getting ready for Opening Day. That said, the Indians will take a conservative approach with Sizemore this spring.
"If he continues on the path that he's on," Antonetti said, "he'll be in Spring Training games by the middle of March and then he should be ready for the start of the season or maybe shortly thereafter."
Acta added that Cleveland will not rush things with Sizemore.
"We have a plan and we're not going to try to push Grady," Acta said. "Our medical staff put together a plan and we're going to stand behind it. We're going to take our time. We just want to see the fearless guy that he is.
"When he gets to a point where he can just accelerate and go try to steal a bag and slide and move without any fear, side to side, maybe even dive for a ball or something, those are the kinds of things [we'll be looking for this spring]."
Last season, Sizemore appeared in just 33 games, during which he hit .211 with 13 RBIs. Injuries limited Sizemore to 106 games in 2009. His last full season came in '08, when Sizemore hit .268 with 33 homers, 39 doubles, 38 stolen bases and 90 RBIs over 157 games.
Antonetti noted that the Indians are not currently considering moving Sizemore out of center field, either. The GM said that the team's medical staff believes center field will actually be better for Sizemore.
"Right now, the thought is center field is actually less demanding on his knees," Antonetti said. "He may have to cover more ground out there, but he doesn't have to decelerate as quickly as he goes into the wall. Left field and right field, you have to stop more quickly than you do in center."
Like Sizemore, Indians catcher Carlos Santana is coming back from a left knee operation, which was performed in August. Unlike Sizemore, though, Santana's surgery comes with a more predictable timeframe for recovery. Antonetti said that Santana is on schedule with his rehab and should be ready in time for Opening Day.
"He is further along in his rehab than Grady," Antonetti said. "We're hopeful and expect [Santana] to be ready for the start of games in Spring Training and he shouldn't have any restrictions come the start of the season.
"He's obviously an important guy to get back, because he's such a dynamic player on both sides of the ball."