Activation looming, Brantley set to join Indians

April 24th, 2016

DETROIT -- Left fielder Michael Brantley will join the Indians on Monday in Minnesota. That was all that manager Terry Francona was willing to reveal on Sunday morning while discussing Brantley's pending activation from the disabled list.

Following consecutive rehab games with Triple-A Columbus on Friday and Saturday, Brantley was scheduled to travel to Minneapolis on Sunday in advance of Cleveland's upcoming three-game series with the Twins. There is a strong chance that the left fielder will be activated for Monday's opener, but Francona was not ready to make that proclamation.

"When we get to the ballpark, we'll sit and talk to him," Francona said, "and meet with him and kind of assess what the next step should be or what we should do. But he'll have a down day [Sunday], which will be good for him after playing two in a row. By all accounts, he's doing really well."

Brantley, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder in November, has played in seven Minor League rehab games, dating back to April 12. His last two marked the first time that he appeared in back-to-back games, a test the Indians wanted Brantley to check off his rehab to-do list before potentially being activated.

Indians general manager Mike Chernoff quipped earlier this weekend that Brantley wanted to be back a week ago. Needless to say, the left fielder has abided by the detailed scheduled that was laid out by head athletic trainer James Quinlan and the Indians' medical team.

"He's been great. He's done everything," Francona said. "He's done a fantastic job trying to be ready to play. That's why -- besides really wanting him because he's a good player -- I don't stress much about it, because I know he's doing everything his power to be ready to play. I'm proud of him, actually."

Francona added that, even if Brantley needs a scheduled day off here and there in the early going, that would not stop Cleveland from activating him.

"If he's playing two out of three the first week or whatever, [that's] better than not having him back," Francona said. "As long as he's healthy when he plays, you can build up the volume. You don't have to do that in Triple-A. That seems like a waste of some good at-bats that we could have up here."

Prior to Sunday's 6-3 win over the Tigers, it appeared as though the Indians would have a roster dilemma in order to activate Brantley from the disabled list.

That changed after starter Carlos Carrasco left the game in the third inning with a left hamstring injury, which will require a trip to the DL, according to Francona. Now, Cleveland can conceivably place Carrasco on the DL and activate Brantley on Monday, if the outfielder is deemed ready to rejoin the club.

The Indians are currently carrying eight relievers, including former starter Trevor Bauer. It appears likely that Bauer will transition back to the rotation until Carrasco is healthy and ready to return.

Francona was not ready to speculate about the upcoming decisions in the immediate wake of the win in Detroit.

"We'll kind of go one step at a time," Francona said.