Michael Brantley's 2016 season should serve as a cautionary tale for injury optimists. The initial hope for Brantley, who was coming off shoulder surgery, was that he might be ready following a brief, backdated DL stint. Unfortunately, his timetable was pushed back to late April, and Brantley only played in 11 games upon his return before he landed right back on the shelf. From there, reports of incremental progress would trickle in, leading many owners to hold tight. However, he experienced several more setbacks and never ended up returning to action. Brantley underwent another shoulder procedure in August, with his rehab projected at four months. There was some fear that his recovery could actually push well into 2017, but the Indians say he should be good to go for spring training. Brantley began taking dry swings right around the end of the calendar year.
Brantley is on track to make Cleveland's Opening Day roster, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Manager Terry Francona made it clear that Brantley is in a good spot in terms of health, and his spring performance has done nothing but reinforce that claim. Over seven games he's 9-for-23 (.391) with two home runs and two doubles.
Brantley is not in the Indians' Cactus League lineup Friday, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. No reason for concern was reported, so Cleveland likely is taking it easy with Brantley, who's 3-for-9 through his first three spring games following his debut earlier in the week. Getting him a bit more rest late in spring training and possibly early in the regular season is prudent management as he returns from his shoulder injury. It may limit his value early in 2017, but his potential for returning to MVP-candidate form is increasing his fantasy draft stock.
Brantley (shoulder) started in left field and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in his Cactus League season debut Monday. He left for a pinch-runner in the fifth inning, but Brantley's debut appears to have occurred without setback. The Indians do not have a game Tuesday, but Brantley is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday against Colorado, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Brantley (shoulder) will start in left field in Monday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers, Eric Stephen of True Blue LA reports. It will be the Cactus League debut for Brantley, who has been eased along slowly in his return from shoulder surgery. After appearing in minor-league games last week without any apparent issues, Brantley will move up to the big club. He'll likely get in extensive at-bats over the next two weeks as he prepares for the April 3 season opener against the Rangers.
Brantley (shoulder) is expected to start in left field Monday against the Dodgers Coming off an injury-plagued 2016 campaign, Brantley has spent this year's spring training stint rehabbing his injured shoulder. Monday's return to action will mark Brantley's major league spring training debut and puts him in line to be ready for Opening Day.