Tribe diligent about Brantley's rehab schedule

Still no timetable for center fielder's Minor League assignment

Tribe diligent about Brantley's rehab schedule

CLEVELAND -- When Michael Brantley thinks back on his winter rehab, or contemplates how he handled his schedule throughout Spring Training and into the early weeks of the regular season, he does not see any missteps in his comeback attempt.

Brantley hit every medical checkmark in his gradual return from the disabled list in April, following surgery on his right shoulder in November. So, as he stood at his locker on Saturday afternoon, discussing his latest comeback from the 15-day DL, Cleveland's left fielder was succinct when asked if he feels he returned too fast.

"I do not," Brantley said. "I was ready. We talked about it. We had a great process and a great calendar laid out. Everything went smoothly. It was just a bump in the road."

The bump in the road arrived on May 14, when Brantley was placed back on the DL after appearing in only 11 games for the Indians. He experienced lingering soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder and was diagnosed with an impingement. During a May 17 checkup with his surgeon, Dr. Craig Morgan, Brantley received an anti-inflammatory injection to help alleviate the discomfort.

Brantley said he resumed a hitting program on Friday, noting that he went through non-contact swings and did some light hitting off a tee. He said that there is no firm schedule for his progression. Instead, Brantley arrives each day, gets examined by Cleveland's medical team and the day's activities are then outlined.

That is why there is currently no timetable for his return to hitting in a cage -- let alone a target date for a Minor League rehab assignment.

"It's more kind of test it out when I get here," Brantley said. "[It's] see how we're responding to certain activities and making the adjustment from there."

Indians manager Terry Francona has repeatedly stressed that the team does not want to activate Brantley until it is confident he will be able to stay for the remainder of the season. Cleveland does not want to wind up in a situation where Brantley's comeback hits continous snags due to returning before he is fully ready to handle the daily workload of a Major League season.

"We'll certainly be a little bit more conservative," Francona said. "We didn't put a timetable, because there isn't one. It's how he feels. ... When things happen, I always go back and think, 'OK, what could we have done different?' Because you don't like to either make mistakes or have things happen. Even when maybe, like Brant said, [you] wouldn't do anything different, you still go back and try to think it through.

"Our communication has been pretty good. I mean, beyond pretty good. There's a lot of trust between [us]. We trust Michael so much. Sometimes things happen and you wish they didn't. Sometimes, things just happen and guys get hurt. I thought our communication was pretty good on this and continues to be."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.