No one is shocked Michael Brantley only played 90 games last season. However, it is surprising the reason was a pair of right ankle injuries, the last sending him to the DL on Aug. 9. He returned for the last two games of the regular season plus three playoff tilts. Once the Tribe was eliminated, Brantley had surgery to stabilize the ligaments in his right ankle with an estimated return coinciding with the beginning of spring training. When healthy, Brantley was productive, but he fell a little short of 2014-15 levels with a .299/.357/.444 slash line. He may have been playing hurt most of the season. Even so, Brantley popped nine homers and was 11-for-12 stealing bases, providing hope he can run effectively when healthy. Still just 30 years old, Brantley remains a health liability, but the chance for double-digit homers and steals in a solid lineup with a plus average is worth the risk, especially with an injury discount.
The Indians are encouraged by Brantley's (ankle) progress in his rehab from right ankle surgery, Zack Meisel of The Athletic Cleveland reports. Brantley underwent right ankle surgery in the middle of October and was initially given a recovery timetable of 4-5 months, leaving his status for the start spring training up in the air. While he's apparently making solid progress, the Indians won't know more until he's able to resume agility and running drills.
Brantley (ankle) will remain with the Indians next year after the team decided to pick up his $12 million option for 2018, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports. Brantley underwent ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago, which could wind up causing him to miss the beginning of spring training, but it appears as though Cleveland isn't too worried about his status. The team elected to retain Brantley's services for another season, which will come after a rough couple of injury-plagued campaigns in 2016 and 2017. Although he only played in 90 regular-season games this past season, he did slash .299/.357/.444 with nine home runs and 52 RBI, giving the team confidence that if he can get healthy, the 30-year-old can be a weapon in 2018.
Brantley will miss the next 4-to-5 months after undergoing right ankle surgery Wednesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Although Brantley appeared on the ALDS roster against the Yankees -- and recorded a decent amount of at-bats -- the outfielder needed surgery to stabilize the ligaments in his ankle ahead of next season. This places him on a timetable to optimistically return to full baseball activities right around the start of spring training. Cleveland also needs to decide whether to pick up his $12 million club option for 2018, or buy him out for $1 million, which will have to be decided three days after the World Series concludes.
Brantley is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Yankees for Game 5 of the ALDS. With Edwin Encarnacion back in the lineup after missing a couple games due to an ankle injury, Brantley will occupy a spot on the bench as CC Sabathia takes the mound for New York. Brantley may enter the fray at some point during Wednesday's game, but it appears as though he will remain in a reserve role throughout the rest of the playoffs as long as the regulars stay healthy.
Brantley is an option to start in left field for Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Brantley is going to partake in a workout during the team's off day Saturday, which will likely determine manager Terry Francona's lineup decision for Game 3 in New York. The outfielder has essentially been out since early August due to an ankle injury, although he was able to see some action during the final weekend of the regular season. Looking forward, there will be an update on his status following Saturday's workout session. He is available off the bench as a pinch hitter in the meantime.