The Cleveland Indians have activated left fielder Michael Brantley from the disabled list.
Brantley has been on the disabled list since early August with maybe the worst ankle sprain in the history of ankle sprains. The 30-year-old All-Star will be left fighting for a spot in an outfield now packed with suitable options at all three starting positions.
Prior to his trip to the disabled list in August, Brantley was slashing .299/.358/.445 with nine home runs and a high — for him — strikeout rate of 13.4 percent. He now returns with five days left before the start of the American League Division Series against either the Minnesota Twins or whatever Wild Card team beats them.
In that short amount of time, Brantley has to prove that he’s worth a roster spot over Austin Jackson, who has been the best offensive outfielder over the last month with a .333/.415/.444 slash in 19 games; Jay Bruce, who has been a valuable piece of the 100-win season despite some recent struggles; Abraham Almonte, who has been just a shade below-average offensively over the last month; Brandon Guyer, who has yet to assert himself as the right-handed side of the Lonnie Chisenhall platoon; and Greg Allen, who is a speedster but a potential liability at the plate.
It seems kind of weird that Brantley would have to compete for a roster spot — we already know that a Michael Brantley working at his highest output can be an All-Star. The problem is, that Michael Brantley hasn’t been around for well over a year now thanks to a series of unfortunate, mostly unrelated injuries. He’ll first need to prove he’s healthy enough to contribute, and he’ll need to prove his contributions are better than what the Tribe already have lined up heading into October.
While he could see some action late in some capacity, Brantley is not in tonight’s starting lineup against the Chicago White Sox.