Brantley to miss Cactus League opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley continues to progress through his rehab schedule and is optimistic about starting the 2017 regular season, but manager Terry Francona admitted on Wednesday during his daily media gathering that the Cleveland Indians left fielder will likely miss the Tribe's Cactus League exhibition opener.

Brantley, who only played in eleven games last season, is still rehabbing from a shoulder operation that kept him from playing virtually the entire 2016 season. 

Francona also told reporters that Jose Ramirez will be the club's everyday third baseman and while he could see a small amount of time at shortstop this upcoming season, the Tribe's clutch hitter will only be an option for the infield defensively. Last season Ramirez saw time in the outfield.

While it appears there may be a competition at catcher between Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, Francona said he has not figured out who will be the club's primary first baseman between Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion. Both sluggers are expected to see time at first base and DH, but Francona said he needs to have a conversation with both players.

Finally, the Indians held their annual endurance test on Wednesday for pitchers and catchers at the club's player development complex with minor right-hander Dylan Baker taking the crown.

Position players report to Goodyear on Thursday with the first official full squad workout slated for Saturday.

- Nick Camino

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