CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has been out of the lineup since May 11 because of shoulder and biceps tendonitis issues in his right arm.
But despite being sidelined after season-ending surgery, Brantley has found his own way of contributing to the Indians’ run to the World Series, where they are just one win away from their first championship since 1948.
“He gives me that sense of calmness,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “I go up to him like, ‘Brantley, what do you think? What would you do against this pitcher?’ He’ll tell me what his approach will be, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go do that.’ We talk and I listen.”
Brantley has been out of action since May 11, when he experienced tendonitis in his right biceps. After experiencing a setback, Brantley was given a cortisone shot. Brantley had been working his way back from issues in the very same arm where he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last November.
In just 11 games with the Indians this season, Brantley registered nine hits over 39 at-bats, including two doubles, with seven runs batted in, five runs scored, three walks and one stolen base.
Two years ago, Brantley finished third in the voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Brantley was the first player in the 114-year history of the Indians’ franchise, and ninth player in MLB history, to have 200 hits, and at least 45 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season. Brantley was the ninth member of the Indians’ 20-home run, 20-steals club, and the first Cleveland player since 1996 to reach the 200-hit plateau.
During that 2014 season, Brantley finished second in the American League in hits (200), third in batting average (.327) and doubles (45), fourth in on-base percentage (.385), tied for sixth in runs scored (94), seventh in on-base plus slugging percentage (.890), 11th in steals (23) and 12th in RBI (97).
“Brant’s found a way,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s hard when you’re hurt. It’s almost like there’s an invisible wall that goes up because you don’t really quite share in all the frustrations, even though you care. It’s just different.
“Brant has found a way to eclipse that and still be a leader, which is not easy to do. I think it speaks volumes about him. That’s why I said that it hurts me a little bit that he’s not playing because he should be. He’s so much a part of what we do and what we stand for that it hurts that he’s not playing.”