Michael set another career high tonight, this time simply by being in the lineup. when the September 22 game against the Kansas City Royals officially got underway at Progressive Field, and Carlos Carrasco threw the first pitch to Alcides Escobar in the top of the 1st inning, it marked Michael's new career high of 152 games played in one season. his old career high of 151 games played occurred just last year.
2013 was the first real full season that Michael played in the big leagues. he got his occasional days off, but had no major injuries to speak of. well, aside from that lacerated left forearm in spring training, which he clearly recovered completely from.
in 2012, he missed several games towards the end of the season due to injury issues, including a sore pectoral muscle and also a sore groin, which turned out to be a sports hernia that required offseason surgery. and in 2011, he played for a month and a half fighting a sore wrist and then had to be shut down because of a broken hamate bone. prior to that, Michael was still just a rookie, spending time between Cleveland and Columbus in 2010.
this season he was lucky though, only having minor issues. he had a very small and manageable problem when the Indians played on astroturf for 2 straight series in May and Michael developed some lower back tightness. but that only required him to sit out 1 game.
then he suffered a mild concussion in the middle of June. however, it wasn't necessary for him to go on the 7-day concussion list and he ended up missing just 2 full games. how? well, he left the initial game after 4 innings with concussion-like symptoms, then missed the next game. after that there was a rainout, followed by the second game he missed. then the Indians had an off day, followed by Michael making a pinch hit appearance on his 4th day of "rest" before being written back into the starting lineup the next day.
the other issue Michael had this year was this recent late season leg soreness. Francona's been using Michael as a DH on and off when he can in order to balance the team's need for Michael's bat in the lineup and give his legs as much extra rest as possible. that strategy hasn't negatively impacted Michael in any way, as he's put up very good numbers this year as a designated hitter.
so congrats to Michael on playing another (mostly healthy) full season in the big leagues and setting this new personal best. and if he plays in the final 5 games of the season, then his new career high will be re-set to 157 games played. his current 152 leads the team, and it's basically a given that he'll finish with the team high, too.
to play this many games and acquire all the numbers that Michael has is not an easy thing to do. his work ethic and dedication to his craft really show and i am so, so, SO happy for everything that he's accomplished. it's been a hell of a year, one for the record books. and no matter what happens in the future, this is a season that can always be looked back on fondly and never taken away from him.