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12/21/08 10:15 AM EST
Sizemore to play for USA in Classic
Outfielder only Indians player confirmed for tournament
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore has been recruited by his country.
Sizemore has accepted an invitation to play for Team USA in next spring's World Baseball Classic. Assuming he is a part of the final 28-man roster, which will be announced Feb. 24, this will be the first time the Indians' center fielder has taken part in the event.
The provisional rosters will be announced Jan. 19.
Team USA, which was eliminated in the second round of the 2006 tournament, begins training March 2 in Clearwater, Fla., and opens play in the 16-team tournament on March 7, against Team Canada at Toronto's Rogers Centre. The full slate runs through March 23, so Sizemore could be in for a long absence at Spring Training.
Davey Johnson will manage Team USA, and he made Sizemore one of his targets.
Sizemore certainly has the credentials for such consideration. He's coming off his second consecutive Gold Glove season and his first season as a Silver Slugger winner.
Sizemore became just the second player in club history and the 10th player in American League history to swat 30 homers and swipe 30 bases in a single season.
Thus far, Sizemore is the only confirmed Indians player participating in the Classic. Victor Martinez and Rafael Betancourt, both from Venezuela, competed in the '06 event. The Indians might prefer to have Martinez in spring camp this time around, as he missed three months of the '08 season following elbow surgery.