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“Now, he can focus on his play without the distractions of new surroundings, and he will be a free agent again just after his 30th birthday.”

Sizemore acknowledged he had some doubts as he ventured into free agency unsure of his future.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I was in the dark a little bit.”

But as the process unfolded, it became clear to Sizemore _ and the Indians _ that they’re relationship was not supposed to end. Sizemore said he’s eager to put the past three years behind him and hopefully help the Indians win.

“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “I’ve always loved being a part of this organization and I never pictured myself playing anywhere else.”

Sizemore played in only 71 games after beginning last season on the disabled list. He made three trips to the DL and underwent right knee surgery on Oct. 3, just days after his season ended with a .224 batting average 10 homers, 32 RBIs and zero steals for the first time in his career.

Sizemore is continuing to rehab his injury and believes he’ll be ready when spring training camp opens in February.

With Sizemore back, and assuming he can stay healthy, the Indians’ starting outfielder appears to be settled with Sizemore in center, Michael Brantley in left and Shin-Soo Choo in right. The club still needs to add some depth and Antonetti promised the team will continue “trying to make our ballclub better.”

Cleveland is looking for more offensive help, and it’s likely the club’s focus will be an upgrade at first base. Manager Manny Acta said incumbent first baseman Matt LaPorta will have to earn a roster spot this spring.

Sizemore joined the Indians in 2002, coming over as part of the six-player blockbuster trade that sent ace Bartolo Colon to Montreal. Sizemore’s blend of speed and power were unlike any player in club history and he’s the only Indians player with at least 100 homers, 200 doubles and 100 steals.

There are skeptics who doubt Sizemore will ever play at the level he once did. He’s not worried about anything other than getting ready to play.

“I want to prove to everyone that I can stay healthy and I can perform,” he said. “I want to have a healthy year and get back to playing like I know I can.”