Brantley says opening day 'target' after surgery
CLEVELAND (AP) -- There are dates for Michael Brantley's return from shoulder surgery ranging from April to August.
The Indians star outfielder doesn't have one circled.
"I don't think it's fair to give myself a target," Brantley said Thursday night while appearing at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards. "My target is opening day, it's not that I'm going to go any slower or any faster but I'm going to do everything the training staff asks me to do. I'll follow their schedule and do it to the best of my ability and whatever happens, if opening day I make it, great. If I have to wait a couple weeks or whatever it is I'll be ready to go."
Brantley needed an operation to repair a tear in his non-throwing shoulder in November. Following the surgery, doctors estimated it would take him 5 to 6 months to get back, putting the start of his season in jeopardy. It was expected he would miss at least one month.
And although it's probable he won't be ready for the April 4 opener against Boston, Brantley isn't rushing things.
Before attending the event with more than a dozen teammates, Brantley did agility drills and threw. His next step is swinging a bat.
"I went through almost a full workout," he said. "I did agility, I ran, I threw. Everything is going great. I'm excited with where I'm at right now."
Brantley injured his shoulder trying to make a diving catch in Minnesota on Sept. 22. He received a cortisone shot and tried to play as the Indians hung around in the AL wild-card chase, but was eventually shut down.
Brantley said he would dive for the ball again.
"One hundred percent," he said. "Absolutely. I only know one way to play, and that's as hard as I can. I'm never going to change the way I play or not dive because I had a problem. That's letting down my teammates and I can't do that."
The 28-year-old battled injuries throughout last season, but still batted .310 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs in 137 games. He hurt his back during spring training and battled problems in both shoulders.
"It happens," he said. "You have to be mentally tough. You have to grind through it. I love playing this great game. Nothing is ever going to hold me out. If I can walk and feel like I can help my team and not hurt it, I'm going to be out there."