Michael Brantley has been taking batting practice on the field for the better part of a week now, and soon he will begin official rehab starts with five innings with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers tomorrow, a to-be-determined amount of time with the Lake County Captains on Wednesday, and more games with the Akron RubberDucks over next weekend.
Brantley's initial injury was a torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder last September, which he returned from earlier this season. He was shutdown again after a handful of games with what was being called a "subacromial impingement," which basically means his shoulder was flaring up and causing pain that made it difficult to perform. He received an anti-inflammatory shot on May 17 and has been recovering without a set timetable until just recently.
The Indians have more than picked up the slack in left field during Brantley's absence, with Jose Ramirez and Rajai Davis splitting time at the position and putting up borderline All-Star numbers. Whenever Brantley returns, if he can be back his normal self relatively quickly, it should be a huge boost to the Indians lineup, which can have an everyday left fielder and shift Jose Ramirez to full-time third base duties.
The last time Brantley saw the field this season was 0-for-4 against the Houston Astros on May 9. In 43 plate appearances this year, Brantley has nine hits, two doubles, and no home runs.