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Sizemore rewarded with start at third base

NEW YORK -- Scott Sizemore held the lineup card in his hands for a few extra beats at his Yankee Stadium locker on Wednesday, scanning the Yankees' lineup and finding his name in the No. 9 spot, playing third base in the opener of a day-night twin bill.

After two reconstructive left knee surgeries and some doubts about his future in baseball, Sizemore said that it was "absolutely" significant to have that tangible reward of all the hard work he put in during his rehabilitation.

"The last two years have been extremely tough, a grueling two years of rehab," Sizemore said. "To get a chance to be under the lights again, it's a rewarding feeling.

"... Maybe best case would have been to make it out of spring, but I had a lot to prove and that I was healthy and all that good stuff. To get a chance this early in the year is great."

Sizemore, 29, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the Yanks' 2-0 nightcap victory over the Cubs, and will provide manager Joe Girardi with more infield versatility. Sizemore has played second and third base in the big leagues with the Tigers and Athletics, and he said that he is about 95 percent back to his expected range and agility.

Girardi said that it is also possible that Sizemore will see time at first base if Kelly Johnson needs a day off before Mark Teixeira's expected activation from the disabled list.

Sizemore was taking ground balls at the position with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he batted .344 (11-for-32) with four runs scored, three doubles and five RBIs in 10 games.

"Obviously the more practice you get, the more comfortable you feel, but I feel like I'm a good enough infielder and a good enough athlete to do it," Sizemore said. "It's just learning the position and knowing the responsibilities is probably what would be the most challenging thing."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
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