Brantley takes full swings, continuing comeback

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley is hopeful he will be ready to go Opening Day, April 3 when the Indians begin the 2017 regular season in Texas. On Friday at spring camp, the 2014 All-Star outfielder completed a major step in his rehab process making his hope feel more realistic.

For the first time in spring camp, Brantley took regular batting practice as he continues progressing from a shoulder injury that has lingered for over a year and forced him to miss nearly all of last season.

Up until Friday, Brantley had been limited to hitting off a tee and soft-toss exercises. The batting practice session saw Brantley, 29, take 120 swings while medical staff and Indians coaches watched.

Brantley only played in 11 games last season, but originally suffered the shoulder injury diving for a ball in Minnesota on Sept. 22, 2015. In Brantley's last full season he was an All-Star selection and finished third in the AL MVP voting.

On top of his shoulder injury last season, Brantley also missed time due to tendinitis in his biceps.

Brantley is not ready to play in spring training exhibition games just yet, but the Indians open their Cactus League exhibition season on Sat., Feb. 25 at Goodyear Ballpark against the Cincinnati Reds. First pitch is set for 3:05 pm ET, Newsradio WTAM 1100 will carry the Tribe's first spring training game.

- Nick Camino

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