A few notes from the American League…
- Standout Indians left fielder Michael Brantley will soon make his 2016 debut, according to manager Terry Francona. “He’s getting pretty close,” Francona said (link via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com). Brantley is likely to play consecutive games at Double-A Akron sometime during the upcoming week, per Bastian, as he works his way back from a right shoulder injury. Brantley emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous offensive threats during the previous two seasons, slashing a combined .319/.384/.494 with 35 homers and 38 steals, before undergoing shoulder surgery last November.
- Angels southpaw Andrew Heaney still has a ways to go to return from a left flexor muscle strain, manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Brian Hall of MLB.com. Heaney started for the Halos on April 5 and put up a decent line against the Cubs (six innings, seven strikeouts, no walks, seven hits, four runs), but his velocity dropped precipitously from the beginning of his outing to the end and he complained of left forearm tightness. The 24-year-old then landed on the disabled list the next day.
- The Athletics will continue using both right-hander Ryan Madson and lefty Sean Doolittle to close games, manager Bob Melvin told Willie Bans of MLB.com. “We’re just trying to do the best we can with, number one, matchups and, number two, with how guys are pitching,” he said. Madson has fared well this year (six innings, two earned runs, five strikeouts, one walk) while going 3 for 3 on save chances. On the other hand, Doolittle – one of the game’s top relievers from 2012-14 – has not bounced back nicely this season after missing nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury. Although Doolittle’s velocity has stayed in line with his career averages, the 29-year-old has yielded four earned runs and three homers in 5 2/3 innings this season.