Cleveland Indians: Finding a Balance With Michael Brantley’s Progress

Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Michael Brantley seems to be progressing at a great rate, but the Cleveland Indians must not rush back such a valuable player.

It may be cold and dreary in Cleveland, but that didn’t stop some Cleveland Indians players from working out at the Cleveland Browns’ facility on Wednesday.

Michael Brantley was present at the workouts yesterday, which is a positive sign after he wasn’t allowed to do much of any baseball-related activities in 2016.

While this footage may cause some fans to catch some baseball fever, it also provides some hope that Brantley will return healthy in 2017.

An article on explained how assistant hitting coach, Matt Quatraro, was optimistic about Brantley’s health heading into Spring. While this is much better than him saying he is worried about Brantley, it does not mean the outfielder should be thrust back into a full-time role right away.

Brantley has most recently hit off a tee, which is a good sign but not something that means he is ready to return and face Major League fastballs. The first step to a return is hitting off a tee, but the team must still remain patient with the return of one of the most valuable players on the team.

The key will be to find Brantley enough playing time to properly evaluate his health, while also not overworking him to the point where he could aggravate something due to so much time away from a live game.

2016 was a great example of a player being brought back when he was not entirely ready, so the Indians must learn from that mistake. Part of that falls on Brantley himself, who must be smart and stay off the field until he is positive he is healthy. Returning before that point is detrimental to both him and the team.

Next: 4 prospects to watch for in 2017

But for now, fans can only go off what the team is saying, and the early signs point at a return for the outfielder in 2017. The video of him playing catch is simple in nature, but it is hard not to smile and anticipate what is to come in April when the season begins.