DETROIT -- Obviously, the Indians are going to need Grady Sizemore's permission before they cut into his aching left elbow.
So the Tribe has involved Sizemore with the decision-making process as the club contemplates whether to shut down its star center fielder before season's end and have the arthroscopic surgery that is looming, one way or another, in the near future.
"We haven't decided anything yet," Sizemore said. "Right now, we're playing it day by day. We're talking about it, but that's all we've done is throw [the idea] out there."
It's an idea that appears to be gaining momentum, but nothing is official. All that's known is that if Sizemore doesn't have the surgery this month, he'll definitely have it in the days following the Oct. 4 season finale.
The Indians don't believe Sizemore's elbow condition has grown worse as the season has progressed, and they don't believe his recovery time will affect his ability to prepare for 2010.
But clearly, the earlier Sizemore has the surgery, the earlier he'll be at 100 percent for next season. And the elbow has already affected his ability to make throws from the outfield.
"I see both sides," Sizemore said of the debate. "Every player wants to be out there and finish the season. But I understand the logic behind the conversation. They want to put me in a position to where I'm strong for next year."
Offensively, Sizemore, who spent three weeks on the disabled list in June because of the elbow issue, is finishing this season strong after a less-than-dynamic first half. He has hit .296 with 17 runs scored, five homers and 15 RBIs since July 26, raising his average from .227 to .247.
But with prospects Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta on hand and available in the outfield, and Trevor Crowe nearing a return from his DL stint with an oblique strain, the Indians, who are trying to get a feel for the players who might help them in 2010 and beyond, have some incentive to have Sizemore call it a season.
Then again, if the Indians didn't think they are a stronger team with an ailing Sizemore, they would have shut him down long ago.
"Obviously, we're a better team with him out there," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's always going to want to play. But we've got to make a decision to where none of this comes into play next year."
Expect that decision to come soon.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.