At this point, I have written far more Michael Brantley injury updates than I ever wanted to. The initial injury that started this whole fiasco, now more than a calendar year ago, has left the Cleveland Indians without their All-Star left fielder for far longer than they wanted.
But there appears to be finally be a light at the end of the tunnel. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti told reporters Monday that Brantley is expected to begin swinging sometime after Christmas and the team expects him to be ready to play for spring training.
Antonetti: Brantley expected to resume hitting after Christmas. Indians expecting him to be ready for Spring Training and season.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 5, 2016
There have been plenty of lights at the end of tunnels in this saga before, but the tunnel seems to keep getting longer. First, it was the initial return from his separated shoulder, the recovery from which took longer then expected. Then in May he received an anti-inflammatory shot for a subacromial impingement in the same shoulder. Then in July he experienced discomfort in his shoulder again. Then in August he was officially shut down with further surgery on the shoulder.
It’s been a hard enough journey to follow as a fan of Brantley, and I cannot imagine how hard it has been for him. Either way, it sucks.
The Indians were obviously able to overcome his injuries last season, but a healthy Brantley would have made that much deadlier in the postseason. How he will perform this season is still up in the air, but he did not look good in his very limited time in 2016. But if he can begin working back to game form in December and if he can be ready for Opening Day, and if he can stay healthy, there could be more partying in Cleveland next season.