A crowd of 15 or so reporters gathered around Grady Sizemore's locker Thursday, and the veteran outfielder, turning to face a small army of microphones and notebooks, seemed bemused by all the attention.

All of this for two hitless at-bats? In a spring training game? Against a college team, no less?

But Sizemore knows that as he attempts to come back after missing the last two seasons and having played just 104 games in the previous two years before that layoff, everything he does is somewhat newsworthy.

So there he was, answering one wave of questions after another, displaying the kind of patience that he's needed to deal with all the physical setbacks he's suffered in recent years.

"I'm happy to get out there and just get back into games," said Sizemore after the Red Sox' 5-2 win over Northeastern University. "Honestly, it didn't feel like a big deal. I know it was a big moment for me, just to get back out there. But once I was out there, I didn't feel like it was any different than anything other than a spring training game. I just kind of focused what I normally focus on and that was that."

Sizemore hadn't played in a game of any sort since Sept. 22, 2011, some two and a half years ago. But, no he didn't feel anything special when he took the field in the top of the first.

"You would think (it would feel special), but not really," said Sizemore. "I just kind of approached it like any other game - tried to get ready and play it like it was any other game. I didn't feel any more (rusty) than normal. It was like the first spring training game of any off-season."

Sizemore got two at-bats -- he flied to center in the first and lined out to left in the second. But results aren't what he's focused on.

"I feel like each day, I'm able to build off the previous," he said, "and just keep moving forward."

For the time being, Sizemore must strike a delicate balance, finding out what he can do successfully without trying to do too much. After putting both balls in play, Sizemore ran full speed out of the box though it was obvious both balls were going to be caught.