AUG. 16: The Indians announced today that Brantley underwent a 45-minute operation, commonly referred to as “bicep tenodesis,” to correct chronic biceps tendinitis in his right shoulder. Surgeons Keith Meister and Mark Schickendantz confirmed that Brantley’s surgically repaired labrum is still intact and projected a four-month recovery for Brantley following this operation (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian).
AUG. 13: Indians manager Terry Francona says outfielder Michael Brantley will have season-ending surgery on Monday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian and other reporters have tweeted. The specifics of the surgery have yet to be announced, and the timeline of his recovery isn’t yet clear, but Brantley had been dealing with shoulder and biceps issues and already appeared unlikely to return in 2016.
Brantley had shoulder surgery last November and began the season on the disabled list, then had persistent problems with the shoulder throughout the season. He was also diagnosed with biceps tendinitis in June, and he had surgery last month to remove scar tissue from his biceps tendon.
In the midst of all that, Brantley has collected just 43 plate appearances this season, batting a mere .231/.279/.282. That’s a far cry from the numbers he posted in his healthy 2014 and 2015 seasons, when he hit a combined .319/.382/.494 and rated among the American League’s best players. The Indians have fared quite well in the outfield without Brantley, getting very strong performances from a patchwork group of outfielders led by Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez. It is, however, hard for a team not to miss a player of Brantley’s caliber.
As Francona explained today (via Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes on Twitter), the timing of Brantley’s surgery now is geared toward getting him healthy for next season and presumably beyond. Brantley remains under contract with the Indians for 2017, and his contract contains a team option for 2018.