Michael Brantley only played in 11 games last season, but the Cleveland Indians know they need him if they want to make another trip to the World Series.
Brantley has had two shoulder surgeries since injuring himself while diving to try to catch a triple off the bat of Aaron Hicks against the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 22, 2015. He will not play in the first Cactus League game on Feb. 25, according to Terry Francona and his debut is expected later in the spring.
The outfielder didn't make his spring debut until March 19 last season. Two days later his shoulder started to hurt and that was pretty much it for the remainder of the year.
"You can have a great process and a bad outcome," Chris Antonetti said. "I think that's what probably happened last year. Michael, our medical staff, all the doctors were incredibly thoughtful and diligent going through rehab process.
"Michael's body just didn't respond so we needed to make an adjustment."
The Indians won't unveil Brantley in 2017 until they're convinced his shoulder is as close to perfection as possible.
"We're going to do it right so he can have his best chance at being successful," said Francona.