Indians manager Terry Francona acknowledged that it is unlikely Brantley (shoulder) will be ready to rejoin the team's lineup by Opening Day, the Indians' official site reports. "He won't open the season, most likely, with us," Francona said of Brantley. "We'll look at a number of guys. We'll see what fits the best. We'll probably have some platooning going on, especially earlier in the year. There's a number of guys that are coming in [to help]."
A report in December suggested that Brantley was behind schedule in his rehab following offseason shoulder surgery, but the Indians quickly released a statement to shoot that down. With Lonnie Chisenhall already expected to see regular time in right field against right-handed starters, there may be an open competition in spring training for the starts on that side of the platoon in left while Brantley goes through the final stages of his recovery in April. Barring the addition of a left-handed hitting veteran to the outfield mix this spring, Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey could emerge as candidates to work in tandem with Rajai Davis, Joey Butler, and Collin Cowgill.