GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With a series of smaller bursts and directional changes, Michael Brantley took another large step toward getting back in the lineup. Brantley went through his first day of defensive agility drills on a back field Friday and afterward said he felt great.Inasmuch as Brantley already has been
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With a series of smaller bursts and directional changes, Michael Brantley took another large step toward getting back in the lineup. Brantley went through his first day of defensive agility drills on a back field Friday and afterward said he felt great.
Inasmuch as Brantley already has been a full participant in batting practice and cage work, he appears that much closer to returning to form after undergoing right ankle surgery on Oct. 18.
"Just more turns and cuts, progressing where I need to be," Brantley said. "All is going well. I'm progressing every day. That's all I can ask. I'm putting in the work that I need to get back on the field and compete with this great group of guys in this locker room."
Brantley's schedule going forward includes more agility work and an increase in baserunning and outfield drills.
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"Just keep progressing and adding volume to it and keep going," Brantley said. "One day at a time. I do not want to look too far ahead. It's about how I come in every day. When the times comes, I'll be ready."
Cleveland has not scheduled Brantley for games yet, and that is fine with him. The finish line is not Opening Day on March 29 in Seattle.
"There are not too many more hurdles yet, but at the same time, I want to make sure I am ready for each one," Brantley said. "Get back as soon as possible, but make sure it is 100 percent. There is no timetable on my return. I don't want to look at it like that, because then if I come back 80 percent, I am not helping this team. I want to give them everything I got, and that's 100 percent."
Injuries have limited Brantley to 101 games the last two seasons after two years in which he was among the best outfielders in the Majors.
Brantley slashed .327/.385/.506 with 45 doubles, 20 homers and a career-high 97 RBIs in 2014, when he finished third in the American League MVP Award voting. He led the AL with 45 doubles in '15, when he hit. 310 with 15 homers. He collected 20 doubles, nine homers and 52 RBIs in 90 games last year.
Guyer takes swings
Brandon Guyer hit off a tee Friday for the first time since he underwent October surgery to repair the extensor tendon in his left wrist, and he admitted wondering how the first contact would feel.
Consider it a success.
"I was a little nervous going into it, but it felt good," Guyer said. "I was really pleasantly surprised with how it felt. Hopefully can keep going and not have any more setbacks."
Guyer took 10 dry swings and 20 swings off the tee.
"I swung really hard," Guyer said. "It was a good test for it. I never knew how it was going to be actually hitting an object. Dry swings are dry swings, but actually hitting a ball … it felt good."
Next up would be a series of flips and batting practice, with an eye toward being ready for the start of the regular season. As with Brantley, Guyer is keeping the big picture firmly in focus.
"That was my goal. It still is my goal," Guyer said. "I don't want to just be dead set on it and it doesn't happen, or I rush it and hurt something. We'll see what happens."
Guyer reported to camp on time but tweaked his wrist during early spring workouts. The injury first cropped up last May and aggravated it in September.
A right-handed hitter, Guyer provides a strong presence against left-handed pitching and is expected to be a platoon option with Lonnie Chisenhall in right field. Guyer has a .282/.379/.449 career slash line against lefties.
A helping hand
On consecutive defensive plays separated by a half-inning break, Chisenhall showed off his glove in right field in Friday's 9-4 win over the Rangers at Goodyear Ballpark.
Chisenhall made a one-hop throw to home plate to catch Rougned Odor trying to score from second base with runners on second and third to end the third inning. Roberto Perez applied the tag just before Odor slid in head-first.
In the fourth, Chisenhall went to his knees to his left to catch Joey Gallo's sinking line drive for the first out.
According to metrics calculated by Baseball-Reference, Chisenhall saved two runs more than the average outfielder in 65 games last season. He recorded two outfield assists, both from right.
Chisenhall also collected two hits and two RBIs on Friday.
Right-hander Danny Salazar (shoulder) played catch from 75-90 feet on Friday for the second straight day.
"Appropriate," Indians manager Terry Francona said of the team's spring plan. "The idea is, when you build somebody up, you want them to stay up. We're not trying to slow him down. We're trying to do it correctly."
Salazar had a setback during his offseason throwing program that has put him behind this spring, and it appears likely he will open the season on the disabled list.
Right-hander Josh Tomlin will oppose righty Tyler Beede and the split-squad Giants at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark (listen live on Gameday Audio).
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com.