Brantley cleared; returns as pinch-hitter in ninth

Brantley cleared; returns as pinch-hitter in ninth

CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley made his return to the Tribe a day earlier than expected when he pinch-hit for Mike Aviles in Friday night's 6-4 loss to Detroit.

Brantley, who had been sidelined since Monday with a mild concussion, was not slated to play until Saturday. However, the outfielder wound up getting medically cleared by team doctors "during the third or fourth inning" of Friday's game, says Indians manager Terry Francona, and the skipper used him once the ninth inning came around.

"Yeah, he got all the OKs. There's a lot of paperwork and things like that that go into it," Francona said. "And then I obviously went down and checked with him. He got loose as the game progressed."

Brantley coaxed a two-out bloop single out of Tigers closer Joe Nathan in his lone plate appearance of the game, which extended his hitting streak to nine games. Cleveland's regular No. 3 hitter has gone 16-for-29 with five extra-base hits during that span and complements that with a .326/.393/.521 line on the season.

Brantley sustained the concussion during the team's series opener with the Angels when he collided with shortstop John McDonald on a hard slide into second base. He spent much of the week taking part in normal activities and went through an unrestricted pregame routine ahead of Friday's game, including hitting on the field and running full-speed on the bases.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.