GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley will be with the Indians on Opening Day, but the outfielder will not be in the lineup. As Cleveland anticipated after his offseason right shoulder surgery, Brantley will begin the year on the disabled list.Indians manager Terry Francona and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley will be with the Indians on Opening Day, but the outfielder will not be in the lineup. As Cleveland anticipated after his offseason right shoulder surgery, Brantley will begin the year on the disabled list.
Indians manager Terry Francona and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Wednesday, however, that they remain hopeful that Brantley will be ready to rejoin the team earlier than originally expected.
"You never heard Tito or I focus on Opening Day," Antonetti said. "In our minds, we were [originally] thinking mid-May as a reasonable timetable, and that it could even be later than that. Michael is so far ahead of that, that we want to make sure we don't lose sight of that."
Brantley, who has not played in a game since March 21 due to soreness in his right shoulder, will resume a hitting program on Friday, according to Francona. The manager noted that the left fielder will then be re-evaluated following a few days of hitting in the batting cage.
"His honesty is really important," Antonetti said. "The thing that matters most is that we are able to put him in a position to be successful for the majority of the season, even if that means it may not be Opening Day. To Michael's credit, he was really good about how he communicated every step of the way throughout the process."
Other items of note from Wednesday:
• Beyond Brantley, Antonetti confirmed that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (left wrist) and right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter (core muscle surgery) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. Chisenhall will be eligible for activation on April 12, while Hunter could be an option by late April or early May.
"As you want to put the reins on him, there's really not a reason," Francona said of Hunter. "He's strong as an ox. He does everything at 100 miles an hour. There's really not a reason to put the reins on him. He's getting healthy so fast and he's throwing the ball. My goodness. Just get out of his way."
• Veteran third baseman Juan Uribe missed roughly two weeks this spring while dealing with visa issues in the Dominican Republic. Veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd did not sign with Cleveland until March 18. Even with their shortened Cactus League stints, Uribe entered Wednesday hitting .320 (.840 OPS) in 25 at-bats and Byrd was batting .400 (1.128 OPS) in 20 at-bats.
"It was great to see, especially with both guys having such a limited Spring Training," Antonetti said. "I'm not sure it would've been fair to expect them to come in and do as well as they have in such a limited time. Now, we just have to make sure we're smart and thoughtful about how we build up their volume."
• The Indians will need to clear three spots on their 40-man roster, which is at capacity, by Sunday's deadline to set the active Opening Day roster. Byrd, righty Joba Chamberlain and lefty Ross Detwiler will all be on the team, but came into camp as non-roster invitees.
• Francona indicated that outfielder Abraham Almonte, who is suspended for the team's first 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, will remain in Arizona for extended spring training to begin adding more baseball activities to his program.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.