Brantley exits early with ankle sprain

Hoping injury isn't serious, Indians await MRI results

Brantley exits early with ankle sprain

CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley broke hard for a few steps, pulled up in pain and then sat down in the left-field grass. The Indians' left fielder waited for someone from Cleveland's medical staff to meet him in the outfield, and now Tribe fans will hope the star's right ankle sprain is not too serious.

Brantley exited during the fifth inning of the Indians' 4-1 win over the Rockies on Tuesday night and was taken for an MRI exam after the game. The Indians hope to have more information on Wednesday. It was an unsettling scene, considering that Brantley was hurt away from the play, and given how far the left fielder has come to be back on the field in the first place.

"That kind of hurts, man. Hurts really deep," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "We're praying for him. We're hoping it's not as bad of news as it looked, especially for him coming out of the game. We're hoping for a nice little bounceback from him. We know we need him."

Francona on Brantley's injury

The play in question was a routine fly ball off the bat of Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds, who sent a Corey Kluber pitch arcing high over center and into the glove of Bradley Zimmer. Over in left, Brantley took a seat after hopping awkwardly for a few steps. He was soon met by assistant athletic trainer Jeff Desjardins, who examined Brantley's right foot and leg before helping the outfielder to his feet.

Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Brantley's reasoning for sitting down was a fear that he had injured his Achilles tendon, but that injury was ruled out.

"That's why he didn't get up," Francona said. "It takes me a little while to get out there. By the time I got out there, he felt something, but it was on the side. It's not that. We've just got to wait and see. There's no sense in playing the doctor tonight. We just got to see what happens."

Brantley walked off the field under his own power, but needed assistance getting down the dugout steps before disappearing into the clubhouse. Abraham Almonte took over in left and will be an option to help out in the outfield in Brantley's absence. Outfielders Austin Jackson and Brandon Guyer also have the ability to play either corner.

Through 88 games this season, Brantley has hit .299 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage, compiling nine homers, 20 doubles, 52 RBIs and 11 stolen bases along the way. He was named to the American League All-Star team this year, following an injury-marred campaign a year ago. Brantley was limited to just 11 games last season due to complications with his right shoulder and biceps.

"It's scary, especially when it's kind of non-contact," Kluber said. "I think that it's challenging emotionally for everybody to lock it back in, because he means so much to our team. I don't know what's going on with him, but hopefully it's nothing serious and he'll be OK."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.