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Cleveland Indians: What happens when Brantley returns?

(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians will have a little bit of a roster crunch on their hands once outfielder Michael Brantley returns from the disabled list.

According to reports, the Cleveland Indians will be getting All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

When healthy, Brantley is arguably the best outfield option the Tribe has. Health has obviously been an issue for him lately but if he can get into a groove at the plate and stay healthy this season, the Indians will be playing at their best.

Brantley will be coming back to his regular left field position. But with him coming off the DL, that means someone on the 25 man roster is getting sent to the minors. Now there’s one big question.

Who gets sent off the roster?

The big question isn’t exactly a hard one. By the looks of it, Tyler Naquin will be getting his plane ticket to Triple-A when Brantley returns. Naquin has gotten off to a slow start, although to be fair so has everyone else on this team.

Naquin does have a home run already this season, but that one bomb won’t be enough to keep him up with the Cleveland Indians right now.

How does the playing time work out?

As Meisel explains, Brantley isn’t going to come in and start every single game. The Tribe is going to work him in slowly to try to prevent a relapse of his injury. Rushing him back to every day play too quickly could has disastrous side effects.

While Brantley gets his scheduled days off against some righties, Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis will see that playing time. If I had to guess, I would say Guyer would get the bulk of that playing time. As much experience and admiration Davis brings, platooning him against righties is not the greatest idea. As described here, Davis would work better in a platoon where he faces left handed pitchers.

Davis just hits lefties better and with Francona saying that the at-bats for the two reserve outfielders would be against righties, it just makes more sense for the bulk of the load to go to Guyer.

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Hopefully the return of Brantley for the home opener will provide the spark that this lineup will need for the rest of the season.