Michael Brantley is expected to make his first start of spring with the major-league squad tomorrow, March 20, when the Cleveland Indians face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian is reporting.
Some good news and bad on health front for Tribe. Brantley to make spring debut Monday. Kipnis out 4-5 weeks. Anderson to have TJ surgery. pic.twitter.com/GNENBxmkRL— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 19, 2017
As you may or may not have heard, Brantley had a shoulder injury and now has a biceps injury that has been lingering for more than a couple days.
When he takes the field against the Dodgers, Brantley will be making his first start in any kind of game with the words “Major League” in it since May 9, 2016 when he went 0-for-4 against the Houston Astros. While much more cautious compared to last spring, all words and actions out of the Indians staff in regards to Brantley’s return seem to have been positive this time around. After taking his first hacks just in simulated games mere weeks ago, he took part in a handful of minor-league spring games last week, including a five-inning game Saturday.
The Indians have been hesitant to put Brantley on any kind of timetable — and rightly so given the events of last season — but being in a Cactus League game could bode well for his return to happen sooner rather than later. This past Friday, Terry Francona did at least say they were “shooting” for Opening Day, but he is fully deferring to the medical staff.
“We’re shooting for Opening Day,” Francona said. “Right now we’re just completely going on what the medical people say. When they give him the go-ahead, we’ll gladly write his name in the lineup.”
Brantley is getting set to enter what could potentially be his last season with the Indians — though the Indians do have a $11 million team option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.