Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley’s road to recovery from shoulder surgery has progressed into spring training, but his status for the start of the regular season is up in the air. 

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Brantley Not Likely to Start On Time

Friday, March 25

According to’s Jordan Bastian, Brantley is scheduled to have his shoulder checked by a team doctor on Friday. Brantley then hopes to resume swinging, but Bastian reported all plans beyond that are “on hold.”

Bastian added that manager Terry Francona said the team is exploring the possibility of carrying five outfielders on its roster. 

Brantley is one of the Indians’ most dangerous hitters. He’s steadily developed into a consistent offensive force since breaking into the big leagues in 2009. Now in his prime, he typically provides Cleveland with All-Star-level production across the board.

His status for the start 2016 season remained in question throughout the winter. He suffered a shoulder injury during the latter stages of last season, which forced him to undergo surgery for a torn labrum. It’s the type of issue that needed a chance to fully heal.

If Brantley is forced to miss time, the Indians could use a committee of players to fill the void in the outfield. Rajai Davis, Joey Butler and Collin Cowgill could all end up in line to receive some extra at-bats for the time being.

That said, no matter what combination Francona decides to use, it’s unlikely they will make the type of impact a healthy Brantley can provide.


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