GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -Asdrubal Cabrera led off Cleveland's spring training opener with a homer, providing immediate evidence that the Indians' new manager might be onto something.
Batting in Grady Sizemore's accustomed spot, Cabrera got the Indians rolling with his drive off Mike Lincoln on Friday. An inning later, Sizemore came through with a bases-loaded double in a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Manager Manny Acta decided to drop Sizemore to second in the lineup. The outfielder is coming off operations last September to repair his elbow and a hernia, and Acta wants to go easy with him in the early games.
Plus, he's experimenting.
``We want Grady to hit with guys on in front of him,' Acta said. ``He's been known to pull the ball, and that opens up holes for him. Potentially, he could hit even lower in the lineup.
``When Cabrera led off the game with that homer, that was a good at-bat, but we were joking in the dugout, saying, 'See, some other guys can lead off games and hit home runs, too,'' Acta said.
Cleveland had little trouble against Lincoln, a reliever who is trying to win the fifth spot in Cincinnati's rotation. The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits while retiring only four batters.
Lincoln had surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck last July and had trouble keeping the ball down in his return to the mound.
``It was really good to be out on the mound again, feeling good,' Lincoln said. ``I didn't throw enough first-pitch strikes. My arm feels good. My body feels good. It just didn't go how I pictured it. I felt in control but I was missing a little bit.'
It was Cincinnati's first game at a training facility it shares with the Indians. Cleveland moved to Arizona from Florida last year, and the Reds joined them this spring from Sarasota, Fla. They honored players from the Big Red Machine and their 1990 World Series championship team before the game, with Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan throwing a ceremonial pitch.
Justin Masterson, acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the trade for Victor Martinez last July, had little trouble with the Reds. He allowed only one hit in two innings, striking out three.
``I threw strikes, controlled the zone, so I'm pretty happy,' Masterson said.
He had a strange moment against Jay Bruce, who tried to check his swing on a changeup only to have the bat fly apart. He was called out on strikes.
``I threw a pretty good changeup to Jay Bruce and he swung over it,' Masterson said. ``I think he had broken his bat on a previous pitch but didn't know it. It came apart when he swung and I thought he was throwing it at me. I thought, 'Dude, I'm sorry.''
Minor leaguers Brian Buscher and Nick Weglarz also homered for Cleveland.
NOTES: An Air Force fighter squadron flew overhead before the game. ... The Reds also honored Tom Browning, Todd Benzinger, Eric Davis, Billy Hatcher, George Foster and Ken Griffey Sr. ... Cleveland LF Jordan Brown twisted his right knee in outfield drills before the game. He was replaced by Austin Kearns. ... RHP Jason Grilli, who is in the Indians camp on a minor league contract trying to win a relief spot, hurt his right knee during drills and was taken for an exam. ... The Reds were without OF Laynce Nix, who had a sore arm after running into the outfield fence during an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday. INF Todd Frazier also was unavailable with a sore thigh, hit by a pitch from Aroldis Chapman during the scrimmage.
The Associated Press News Service
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