CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley has been diagnosed with a mild concussion, Terry Francona confirmed Wednesday night, but the Indians manager said it was possible Cleveland’s left fielder could return to the lineup Saturday.
“You can bet that if he’s playing Saturday, then he’s fine, because that’s the last thing we want to do is run someone out there that shouldn’t be,” Francona said of Brantley, who missed his first game Tuesday. “But because of the importance to our lineup, and who he is, we’d like to try to have him back as soon as we can.”
Brantley, who is considered Cleveland’s top All-Star candidate, was in the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game with the Angels was rained out but said he does not have a timetable for his return.
“I don’t want to put a deadline on anything, but my goal is to get back out there with my team as fast as possible,” said Brantley, who leads the Indians with a .323 batting average (fourth in the American League through Tuesday), 11 home runs and 46 RBIs in 69 games. “That involves listening to the medical staff and making sure I’m ready to go 100 percent.”
Brantley, who sustained the injury attempting to break up a double play in the series opener with the Angels on Monday, was sent to Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday after arriving at the park with concussion symptoms. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion, but Brantley hit off a tee and worked out at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
“I just didn’t feel perfect (Tuesday),” Brantley said. “It’s a day-by-day process.”
Francona said doctors informed him that Brantley sustained the type of concussion that heals quicker and is less severe than the one that landed third baseman Carlos Santana on the 7-day concussion list at the end of May.
As of now, the Indians have no plans to place Brantley on the concussion list.
“Carlos was sick, also,” Francona said of Santana, who was dealing with flu-like symptoms when he sustained his concussion. “Imagine having a concussion on top of it. He felt like he got hit by a truck. Brantley already looks more clear-eyed. I think he’s doing very well.
“Carlos was struggling with light and things like that. This is different. It’s a different area, a different level. You have to go off of symptoms. Michael’s not having any problems with that.”
Francona said Brantley passed all of the initial concussion tests Monday night after sustaining the injury, but the test didn’t rule it out completely. He said Brantley could be on the field for some type of baseball activity prior to the series finale today.
“Every activity that’s been given to him (Wednesday), he’s handled without any occurrences of anything,” Francona said. “There’s a progression in place.”
Brantley said it’s the first time he has dealt with a concussion during his professional baseball career.
“I’m making progress each and every day,” he said. “It’s all positive.”
WHO: Cleveland vs. L.A. Angels
WHERE: Progressive Field
PITCHERS: Masterson (4-5, 5.05 ERA) vs. Wilson (7-6, 3.50)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM