Cleveland Indians: Remaining Patient With Michael Brantley

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Aug 23, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with Michael Brantley (23) after defeating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Indians defeated the Yankees 4 - 3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) celebrates with Michael Brantley (23) after defeating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Indians defeated the Yankees 4 - 3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /
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While Michael Brantley is expected to make a full return in 2017, Cleveland Indians fans must remain patient with his progress.

The beauty of being a sports fan is that the cycle never stops. Even in a month when no games are being played, there are plenty of things to talk about. This holds true for Cleveland Indians fans.

The main news surrounding the team currently is the addition of Edwin Encarnacion. But another player’s name is one that is also in focus.

Michael Brantley is being counted on to make a healthy return in 2017 after what was a nightmare 2016 campaign for the star outfielder. He was only able to play in 11 games last season before he headed to the DL on a permanent status.

And while Brantley has not been completely cleared to return, the updates are trending in a positive direction.

It is easy to get caught up in the fact he is not able to participate in a full capacity, but fans must remember that there is still a lot of time before the season begins. If anything, non-contact swinging may be done as a precaution to avoid any freak injury before spring training begins.

Twitter is filled with call backs to the situation Indians fans witnessed with Grady Sizemore, but those comparisons should be kept in check for now. Unless Brantley does indeed open the 2017 season on the DL, it is too early to say that his injuries will ruin the rest of his career.

It is hard to not get caught up in the day-to-day status of Brantley, especially when there are no games being played, leading to fans clinging to any bit of news. But January is no time to start assuming the worst, or even to place too much hope in a great return.

The best method is to take things one day at a time and accept the fact that it may indeed take some time for Brantley to return to his old self. If that means easing him back into action, so be it. The lineup is stacked, and the team should still be able to do well without Brantley. The lineup is obviously better with Brantley included, but there is no need to rush him back if he is not yet ready.

Next: Who Should Hit Behind Edwin Encarnacion?

Brantley’s status is going to be a major focus throughout the remainder of the offseason, so let’s just hope for the best. The current reports seem to point toward a healthy return, and that is something to smile about at a time when the Indians are adding one of the best hitters in all of baseball.

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