CLEVELAND — The Indians have never been so happy to put a player on the disabled list. Michael Brantley’s injury isn’t serious after all.
Brantley hurt his right ankle after taking a few steps toward a fly ball on Tuesday night against Colorado, and the club decided Wednesday to place him on the 10-day DL, a move the Indians executed while breathing a collective sigh of relief.
The sight of Brantley, who has inspired his teammates by having an All-Star comeback season after playing in just 11 games last year, sitting in the outfield grass was jarring enough.
“You don’t want to ever lose anybody,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “You see a guy sitting out there, then you hear the trainers say, ‘Well, give us a day to kind of look,’ it makes you feel a heck of a lot better than we did last night.”
Brantley, who was sidelined earlier this season with an injury to the same ankle, initially feared he tore his Achilles after he broke to his left while tracking a fly ball hit by Colorado’s Mark Reynolds. Brantley abruptly stopped and dropped to the grass and waited to be checked by a trainer and Francona. As he sat with his legs extended, Brantley’s facial expression indicated that he was afraid his season was over.
Brantley was sure his Achilles was ruptured, but when he pointed toward the side of his leg, Francona was much less worried.
“Well, I was relieved when he pointed to where it was hurting because it was on the side,” Francona said. “When somebody is sitting out there, you are never really relieved, but I knew it wasn’t an Achilles.”
An MRI revealed it was nothing major, but Francona didn’t provide any specifics about the injury. He said Cleveland’s medical staff wanted to treat Brantley’s symptoms first before deciding on a course of action.
But the team placed Brantley on the DL before finishing up its two-game series with the Rockies on Wednesday. Infielder Erik Gonzalez was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take Brantley’s roster spot.
When Brantley went down, rookie center fielder Bradley Zimmer feared the worst.
“That’s something you never want to see,” he said. “He’s a guy that obviously does a lot for us on the field and in the clubhouse and really does a lot of everything. To see him go down like that is tough.”
The 30-year-old Brantley is batting .299 with nine homers and 52 RBIs. He’s patrolling left field like he always, cutting off balls before they get to the corner and deterring runners from taking the extra base with his strong arm.
The Indians weren’t sure Brantley would ever he himself again after undergoing shoulder surgery last year, but he’s back.
And fortunately he’s not going away.
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