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Extended spring ABs Brantley's next step

MLB.com @MLBastian

SEATTLE -- The Indians are hoping to have Michael Brantley off the 10-day disabled list and back in their lineup in the near future, but the club first has to navigate around poor weather forecasts and Minor League Spring Training coming to a close. For now, the All-Star left fielder will continue to rehab his right ankle injury in Arizona.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Mariners, Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Brantley was scheduled to take part in extended spring games on Monday and Tuesday. Cleveland is considering leaving a couple Triple-A pitchers in Arizona for those days to better simulate at-bats for Brantley.

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SEATTLE -- The Indians are hoping to have Michael Brantley off the 10-day disabled list and back in their lineup in the near future, but the club first has to navigate around poor weather forecasts and Minor League Spring Training coming to a close. For now, the All-Star left fielder will continue to rehab his right ankle injury in Arizona.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Mariners, Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Brantley was scheduled to take part in extended spring games on Monday and Tuesday. Cleveland is considering leaving a couple Triple-A pitchers in Arizona for those days to better simulate at-bats for Brantley.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: Must C Cannon: Brantley shows off arm, nabs Barney

Francona said the team has not yet discussed plans for a Minor League rehab assignment in Triple-A (Columbus' season starts on Friday at Indianapolis) or Double-A (Akron begins on Thursday at Altoona). Columbus does not play at home until April 12, and Akron's first homestand begins on April 13.

"Let's see where he's at [after Monday and Tuesday]," Francona said of Brantley. "I think we're still trying to figure out what to do, especially if it's that cold, things like that. It's hard to send somebody somewhere and not play, so we're kind of working through all that."

Brantley, who was limited to 90 games last season due to the injury, which necessitated surgery in October, would be eligible to come off the DL in time for the Indians' home opener against the Royals on Friday at Progressive Field. He appeared in three Cactus League games this spring but has been accumulating at-bats and innings in the field on the Minor League side over the past couple of weeks.

Worth noting
• Francona said he plans on batting first baseman Yonder Alonso sixth against left-handed pitchers, but that creates some questions about who to hit fifth in Brantley's absence. Against Mariners southpaw James Paxton on Saturday, outfielder Rajai Davis was slotted into the No. 5 spot.

"Until we get Brant back, where we have more of a set [lineup]," Francona said, "I'm trying to separate some guys [who hit from the same side]. And the guys that we're going to pinch-hit for, maybe have them in a situation where, if we do hit, they're facing the right guy."

• Right-hander Danny Salazar (10-day DL, right shoulder) continues to work through a throwing program, including mound sessions, at the team's facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Francona said there is a strong chance that Salazar will remain in Arizona for the next month or so.

Video: Outlook: Salazar has eye-popping strikeout skills

• Infielder Giovanny Urshela (10-day DL, right hamstring) is scheduled to play in extended spring games on Monday and Tuesday before heading out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

• Lefty Ryan Merritt (10-day DL, left knee) is back on a mound and should be cleared to face hitters soon.

• Catcher Yan Gomes started for the Indians on Thursday and Saturday, but Roberto Perez will be behind the plate to catch starter Trevor Bauer on Sunday in Seattle.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

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