GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley is hopeful he will be ready to join the Cleveland Indians when they open the 2017 MLB season on April 3 in Arlington, Texas against the Rangers.
He should be.
Brantley maintains he feels great, even better than a year ago at this time and he continues to progress in his rehab from a shoulder injury that only allowed him to play in 11 games last season.
Monday morning at the Indians player development complex Brantley took batting practice outside for the first time. Another step for the 2014 All-Star left fielder in hoping to join the Indians and this time, "stay back" as manager Terry Francona has said.
The next step for Brantley will likely be back-to-back days of BP, followed by actually facing live pitching and then getting into a game. Whether Brantley will start in "B Games" or minor league games prior to joining the club for Cactus League games is still unclear.
The Indians break camp on April 1.
Francona has maintained that until the team knows whether Brantley will be healthy or not, there may be some uncertainty as to who will make the team and how many roster spots will be open.
- Nick Camino