The tragic tale of Michael Brantley — a journey that spans almost 19 months and multiple injuries that held him to just 11 games in 2016 — appears to finally be coming to a close.
According to recent reports, Brantley is one of 25 players traveling with the team to Arlington for the season opener against the Texas Rangers, but he has not been named to the Opening Day roster. I’ll let you do your own math here, but just know that the Opening Day roster normally consists of 25 players.
Francona told reporters in Goodyear, Ariz., that Brantley is one of 25 players going to Tex. for opener, but he was not named OD roster.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) March 31, 2017
Indians manager Terry Francona, on Michael Brantley: "We're taking 25 guys, and he's one of them."— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 31, 2017
Per those pesky things known as the rules, the Cleveland Indians do not technically have to name anyone to anything until Sunday, a day before they open their season against Yu Darvish and the Rangers.
The Indians, and Brantley himself, have been exceedingly cautious in spring training, and they are continuing that trend even with this final “announcement” of the outfielder’s position on the Opening Day roster. Maybe they don’t want some random blogger getting over excited then overly upset if something doesn’t go wrong, but I don’t know who would do that or why are you all looking at me stop it.
This spring, Doctor Smooth got his groove back. As I wrote yesterday, the vintage Brantley swing that earned him his nickname is back and as pretty as ever. He has put it to good use in 26 at-bats this spring, with 10 hits, two doubles, and two home runs under his belt.
But forget spring stats, just look at it.
The Indians may choose to ease Brantley back into things, like starting him out on the bench or as a designated hitter, but eventually he figures to be the everyday left fielder again, meaning everything is right in the world once again. As long as you ignore almost literally everything else in the world right now.