TAMPA, Fla. -- It's safe to assume anybody working out at the Yankees' Minor League complex a week before pitchers and catchers report is eager to get back on the field, but perhaps none of them more so than infielder Scott Sizemore.
Sizemore, who signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, began his on-field workouts Monday, albeit not at "full-go," after two lengthy recoveries from a torn ACL in his left knee. Nearly 10 months removed from his most recent surgery, he's hoping he'll be healthy enough to compete for a spot on the Yanks' big league roster this spring.
"So far, getting back on the field feels great. [I] haven't had any issues with the knee," Sizemore said Thursday. "Obviously we're trying to take it slow; that way, I can prepare myself for the long haul, try to stay healthy and on the field this year. Thus far, I'm pleased with the way everything's going."
Sizemore suffered his first torn ACL in the spring of 2012, then he tore the same ligament again in April '13. When healthy in '11, the 29-year-old infielder was a productive player for Detroit and Oakland, batting .245 with a .741 OPS in 110 games. He can play second or third base, and his right-handed bat would make him an intriguing platoon candidate at third alongside the lefty-hitting Kelly Johnson.
But that's only true if Sizemore is healthy and if he can return to that form after so much time away. He's only played in two Major League games since 2011.
"Obviously I have to prove that I'm healthy and on the field," Sizemore said. "But they said if I can show that I'm ready to go that I have a chance to make the team and help the club out in some fashion or another."
Sizemore admitted he might not be ready to play as soon as Grapefruit League games begin, but when he's cleared, he hopes to play as often as possible. While he's always considered himself a hard-nosed player, he has reason to believe the last two years have made him even stronger mentally.
"It was devastating, really," Sizemore said. "I felt like I was back on my way. Then to have it happen so early in the year, obviously doubts crept into my mind if I was ever going to be able to play again. ... I really pushed myself even harder, being that I figured this was probably my last go-around if it wasn't going to come back.
"I tried to do everything I could to get right, and I feel like I've had really good results with it so far."