Starter leaves with mid-back tightness; replacement departs with right knee sprain
TORONTO -- In the span of one half-inning on Wednesday night, the Indians lost a pair of outfielders to injury.
During a 15-4 win over the Blue Jays, left fielder Michael Brantley exited in the bottom of the fifth due to mid-back tightness. His replacement, Nyjer Morgan, left with a mild right knee sprain in the top of the sixth. Indians manager Terry Francona said the team would have more information about both players on Thursday.
"Michael had mid-lower back tightness -- just precautionary with him," Francona said. "Nyjer banged his knee ... and we need to see how he shows up in the morning. That's probably the best thing we can do. I don't think we'll really know anything more than we'll know [Thursday] when he wakes up and sees how sore he is."
Francona said Brantley, who went 1-for-3 with a double in the top of the fifth inning, did not injure himself on any specific play. It is possible that playing on artificial turf in four of the past five games had something to do with the left fielder's discomfort.
Morgan's injury came up with one out in the home half of the fifth, when Toronto's Adam Lind sliced a pitch from righty Corey Kluber down the left-feld line for a double. To that point, Kluber had retired 13 hitters in a row, so Morgan sprinted hard in an effort to track down the line drive. The outfielder opted not to dive at the last minute, but stumbled to the turf on the play.
After the game, Morgan had a brace on his leg to stabilize his knee.
"It was one of those plays where I wanted to go and dive for it," Morgan said. "My knee hit the ground when I pulled up a little bit. I knew I wasn't going to get it. So then, instead of doing the 20-foot dive, I just pulled up and my knee hit the ground. I was fine at the time.
"Then when [Brett] Lawrie came up [later in the fifth] and hit that [double] into the gap, me and [center fielder Michael Bourn] went back to get it. On my first step, that's when I kind of felt something. I hope it's not significant. I hope it's not a problem. We have to wait and just see where it goes from there."
With his showing in Wednesday's game, Brantley is now hitting .279 with a team-leading seven home runs and 30 RBIs, along with nine doubles, 13 walks and 21 runs scored in 39 games. Over his past 13 games, Brantley has hit .327 (17-for-52) with three homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs.
Morgan has hit .341 with one homer, three stolen bases, six RBIs, seven walks and eight runs scored in 15 games for the Indians this season.