Grady Sizemore received good news Monday, as an MRI exam on his injured left elbow showed that most of the inflammation has subsided. Without that progress surgery would have been an option for Sizemore, but manager Eric Wedge noted Monday that the "best-case scenario" would now have him back off the disabled in 7-10 days.
Before that happens Sizemore will need to avoid a setback while swinging a bat and throwing Tuesday, so he's not totally out of the woods. "There's a chance it could get worse, there's a chance it could stay the same," Sizemore said, adding that "it definitely could linger all year" even if he can return next week. His ability to play through pain will be put to the test and he struggled before the DL stint.
While the Indians celebrate their Sizemore news by blowing a five-run lead in the seventh inning, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* Lou Piniella stuck to his guns Monday, explaining that Alfonso Soriano will stay atop the Cubs' lineup despite going 14-for-95 (.147) over the past 22 games and sporting a ghastly .296 on-base percentage on the season. "We've been through this many times," Piniella said. "When we signed Alfonso, he was a leadoff hitter. We've won two divisions with him being a leadoff hitter. What else can I say?"
In other words forget about his good power, sub par on-base skills, and declining speed and just focus on the fact that he's been in the wrong role for a long time now. When he was swiping 30-40 bases per season hitting Soriano leadoff made sense from a conventional wisdom standpoint, but he has six steals in 58 games this year and has a so-so .331 OBP while slugging .529 since joining the Cubs.
* Jason Isringhausen walked off the mound with his right arm dangling at his side Sunday, so it came as no shock when the Rays put him on the 60-day disabled list and announced Monday that he'll miss the remainder of the season following Tommy John surgery. He allowed two runs while posting a 6/5 K/BB ratio in eight innings between DL stints and the 36-year-old may call it quits with 293 saves.
AL Quick Hits: Ervin Santana has been scratched from his Tuesday start due to forearm tightness and is awaiting the results of an MRI exam … No decision has been made yet about his joining Boston's rotation, but John Smoltz said Monday that he'd like to pitch beyond this season … Jason Bartlett (ankle) came off the disabled list Monday, with Reid Brignac heading back to Triple-A … Glen Perkins (elbow) will rejoin the rotation Tuesday and Michael Cuddyer (finger) is hoping to be back in the lineup after receiving a cortisone shot … Orlando Cabrera has been removed from the A's leadoff spot after posting a .280 on-base percentage through 62 games … Kelvim Escobar is expected to replace Scot Shields (knee) in the bullpen next week, but for now has been placed back on the DL … Jake Westbrook has been scratched from his next scheduled minor-league rehab start because of soreness in his surgically repaired elbow.
NL Quick Hits: Brad Lidge (knee) threw long toss Sunday and is hoping to return from the disabled list when eligible next Tuesday … Former pitching coach Rick Peterson said Monday that he's heard rumors of Johan Santana being bothered by his surgically repaired knee … Pedro Martinez reportedly has been working out six days per week in the hopes of joining a contending team after the All-Star break … Kyle Lohse (forearm) played catch from 90 feet Sunday and reported zero problems, but remains likely to be out until the second half … Manny Acta reportedly will remain manager for at least a few more days while the Nationals' brain trust weigh their options … Meanwhile, the Nationals increased their odds for next year's No. 1 pick by signing Horacio Ramirez to a minor-league contract Monday … Gary Sheffield will keep playing through knee soreness after the Mets said Monday that he doesn't need an MRI exam.