It has been quite a journey for Cleveland Indians fans since Michael Brantley first injured his non-throwing shoulder late in the 2015 season. At the time, it looked like he would only be out for the rest of the season as a precaution while he rehabbed the injury. Then suddenly he needed surgery he would be out until at least next May. And finally, just yesterday, Peter Gammons dropped a bomb on Tribe fans by saying the surgery was "more complicated" than initially believed and Brantley would be out until August. Other unnamed sources "close to the matter" are saying at least June for Brantley’s return, but the Indians say both of those timetables are wrong. Confused yet?
It is important to keep in mind that the wording on Brantley’s return was ambiguous to begin with. When the initial timetable was for an April/May return, that was only a return to "baseball activities," which most likely means the beginning of rehab, not that he would be playing baseball again. That April/May date is one that the Indians front office is sticking to, according to a quote in a recent post from Paul Hoynes:
"That's not our expectation," said GM Chris Antonetti. "There has been nothing new since the last update."
Prior to the post, Hoynes had tweeted about the mysterious June timetable, which still does not have a name tied to it. Just that it was a "source close to the situation." If you are keeping track at home, that is at least two sources against the Indians word, so who you want to believe is up to you.
As I said in the initial post about Gammons statement last night, the Tribe would be incentivized to keep any word of a setback under wraps right before the Winter Meetings when they need all the leverage they can get in trades. Knowing that their outfield situation is even worse than expected, teams could hold that over the Indians in talks.