Grady Sizemore had a positive return to the big leagues with a homer against the Orioles. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Already one of the spring's top feel-good stories as he claimed the Opening Day centerfield job following two full seasons out of the game, Grady Sizemore made a strong showing in his Boston debut.
After singling off the Orioles' Chris Tillman in his first plate appearance in the second inning, Sizemore came to bat again to lead off the fourth and found a 3-1 cutter that didn't cut quite enough:
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Sizemore's homer tied the game at 1-1, but Nelson Cruz untied it for Baltimore in the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo shot of his own off Jon Lester. That run that proved decisive in Baltimore's 2-1 win, preventing the Hollywood ending.
Still, Monday marked a marked a milestone for Sizemore in his long comeback. It was his first regular season major league game since September 22, 2011, and his first homer since July 15, 2011, both from when he was still with the Indians. That homer came against Tillman, who along with Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz was supposed to be part of the wave of arms that turned the franchise around. Tillman yes, Arrieta (now a Cub) not so much. Since then, a slew of injuries has prevented Sizemore from living up to the standard via which he earned All-Star honors from 2006-2008; he averaged 70 games per year over the next three years before disappearing from the majors completely in 2012-2013.