What a difference a year makes for Sizemore
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PHOENIX -- After emerging as one of the Oakland Athletics' key players in 2011, Scott Sizemore reported to last year's camp in Arizona primed to take another major step forward. Unfortunately, that day at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona he ended up taking a seemingly innocent step that cost him an entire season of his career.

That one routine step on the field resulted in a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. It was a freak occurrence.

"When the injury happened I was just kind of shocked because I've done a movement like that a million times and nothing has ever happened," Sizemore said. "So to have that kind of injury on a simple play I was a little shell shocked."

Sizemore missed the first full squad workout again this year. Only this time, it was a step in the right direction. Two days before the A's first 2013 workout, Sizemore and his wife Brooke welcomed their first child, Layla, into the family. She entered the world at six pounds nine ounces, and measured 19 inches long.

"I can't even describe it still," Sizemore said. "It's like an overwhelming feeling of responsibility and love."

It's hard to imagine missing the first full-squad workout as a result of two circumstances so completely different. From one of the most difficult days of his life, to one of the best. It's been a crazy year for Sizemore.

"It's definitely gratifying, it's been a long year, a lot of hard work, to get out and play and have a chance to make the big league team, it's very rewarding from the one end of the spectrum to the other."

Last season Sizemore spent the entire season on the disabled list. He worked tirelessly at his rehabilitation. As the A's shocked the world in 2012, he was forced to watch, knowing he couldn't do anything to help.

"It was tough to watch early on because I was hurt and I was so far away from being able to even walk or run," Sizemore said. "You just never know how your body is going to come back."

"When you are on the DL for a whole year it's a lonely place to be," A's manager Bob Melvin acknowledged. "Going to spring training as the guy at third and having that happen, can be pretty demoralizing. He's a tough minded kid. I know he kind of insulated in his workouts and rehabbed as well as you can."

The A's were so impressed with how hard Sizemore worked to get his left knee healthy that they even brought him on the road as a reward. It helped his psyche and made sure he maintained his focus. At that point he was already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now fully healthy, Sizemore, 28, completed his first official practice with the team on Monday without issue. He is considered one of the favorites to land the A's starting second base position. In 2011 as the team's third baseman he hit .249 with 11 homers and 52 RBI in just 93 games. Now he gets to focus on playing his natural position.

"I actually ended up loving third base when they moved over there," Sizemore said. "I was kind of sad to leave (third), but second base is home. It's kind of like riding a bike. It came back naturally to me."

Sizemore says he'll play anywhere to help the team. He even joked that he'd strap on the catchers gear if he needed to. Fortunately he can just focus on going back to the position he knows best and making the team. After all, he has a much more important position to learn -- being a dad. He has apparently been a quick study at that too.

He's already working on shaving seconds off his diaper changing time.

"I'm maybe around a minute now," he joked. "I don't try to get too quick. I'm still tentative with moving her little legs around."