NEW YORK -- The sight of Edwin Encarnacion hobbling to his locker on crutches, his right foot in a boot, looked dire as the Indians prepared to work out Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. But the fact that neither Encarnacion nor manager Terry Francona has eliminated the slugger from Game
NEW YORK -- The sight of Edwin Encarnacion hobbling to his locker on crutches, his right foot in a boot, looked dire as the Indians prepared to work out Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. But the fact that neither Encarnacion nor manager Terry Francona has eliminated the slugger from Game 3 of their American League Division Series presented by Doosan tonight was a much better indication of his status.
"I don't think he's going to start tomorrow," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "but he's not been ruled out, either. So we'll take our time and allow him to continue to get treatment. But if he's that close to being available, that's a really good sign."
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Encarnacion remains day to day with a right ankle sprain, but he was clearly relieved, saying he felt better on Saturday than he did immediately after the injury on Friday night.
"I thought it was going to be worse," Encarnacion said, "but thank God I'm OK."
An MRI on the ankle, Encarnacion said, confirmed the diagnosis.
"There's no fracture. It's just the [sprained] ligaments," Encarnacion said, "and I'm going to be day to day."
Even in a worst-case scenario, Encarnacion isn't expected to miss enough time to necessitate a roster move, though infielder Yandy Diaz traveled with the team just in case. If the Indians took Encarnacion off the roster due to injury, he wouldn't be eligible to return until -- and unless -- the Indians make the World Series.
For now, the Indians' medical staff is working on getting the swelling down.
"We'll let them do their stuff tomorrow and then we'll see where he's at," Francona said. "He might be able to pinch-hit. He might not be able to pinch-hit. He might be able to DH. We'll see. There's no way to know yet."
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While Encarnacion received treatment on Saturday, Michael Brantley -- who pinch-hit for Encarnacion on Friday and stayed in Game 2 as the DH -- went through what he called a full workout on the field, shagging fly balls and running sprints as he works back from his own right ankle injury.
Brantley's workout was originally supposed to determine if his ankle was strong enough to let him start in left field tonight. Encarnacion's status might render that moot.
"It's kind of an easy one," Francona said. "If Edwin doesn't play, [Brantley] walks into the DH spot."
It also sounds easy for Brantley, who said baserunning isn't an issue for him. He didn't have to test that in Friday's game, going 0-for-5.
"I've been doing that a lot before the series even started, just making sure what I could handle, what I couldn't," Brantley said. "We had our limitations, but everything has been going great and I'm very happy where I'm at right now, and we just have to keep moving forward."
If that leads him to DH tonight, Brantley said, "I'm up for whatever the team needs me to do."
Considering Friday marked his first postseason appearance since the 2013 AL Wild Card Game, Brantley will take it.
"For him to get an opportunity to be part of what we're doing is extra meaningful to him," Francona said.
Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.