this is certainly not how i expected Michael Brantley's season to end, although it is sadly fitting that he's going out much like the way he began the year--with an injury. today, on September 30, it was announced that Michael's season is done, as the Cleveland Indians are shutting him down because of his sore right shoulder.
it all started in the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 22. Aaron Hicks was at the plate facing Danny Salazar in the bottom of the 3rd inning with 2 outs and Eduardo Escobar at 1st base. after a 3-1 count, Hicks sent a line drive to deep center field. Michael ran over a long way to try and make the diving catch, but when he hit the grass, the ball popped out of his glove and rolled onto the warning track. the Twins took a 1-0 lead, and the Indians were about to lose Michael.
Michael came to bat against Ervin Santana in the top of the 4th inning and grounded out to short on an 0-1 count. then when the Indians took their places in the field in the bottom half of the inning, Michael had been subbed out defensively because during his at bat, he felt something in his right shoulder on his extension. that was literally the beginning of the end for Michael's season, though we didn't know it at the time.
he missed the next 4 games from September 23-26 before
he was cleared to play again on September 27. he also played in the September 28 game, during which time it was brought to light by Tom Hamilton on WTAM 1100 that Michael was still playing with some pain in his right shoulder. after his 0-for-6 performance in those 2 games, i think that was obvious.
he didn't play on September 29 and was being evaluated by an orthopedic specialist. then today it came out that Michael's MRI revealed shoulder inflammation, so he was going to get a cortisone shot before Game 1 of the Twins-Indians doubleheader and would be shut down. Terry Francona disclosed, "the cortisone shot will effectively shut him down for the season, but it won't shut him down. what he's going to do is, when the rest period (from the cortisone shot) is over, he'll ramp it back up just to make sure everything is feeling good going into his offseason. that will be a week, 10 days away, just so that we know going into the offseason [that] he's not fighting that and can go back into his normal program."
"he has given everything he has," Tito continued. "it's the right thing to do now. i think he knows it. i don't think he likes it, but i think he understands it. but from where i sit, it's the right thing to do. i appreciate how much he tried to play. but you also have a responsibility to take care of your guys."
so there you have it, season over. Michael ends up with a .310 batting average, 45 doubles, 15 home runs, 84 RBI, 68 runs, 60 walks, 15 stolen bases, and 51 strikeouts in 137 games in 2015. not an exact mirror of his MVP-like season last year, but it's still a productive season considering everything he went through.
this has been a tough year for Michael health-wise. prior
to this shoulder issue, he had some inflammation in his left shoulder, receiving a cortisone shot in that one in August and missing 3 games. on top of that, Michael was fighting through a lower back strain since the first day of spring training. yet somehow, that only caused him to miss 10 total games, either directly because of the back strain or to try and get him extra rest to help manage his back
strain. i can't believe he avoided the DL all year despite his back
strain, yet this shoulder injury has forced him to be shut down. maybe if this was a different time of year he would have gone on the DL. or if the Indians still had a real chance at grabbing that 2nd wild card spot, maybe he would have just missed a handful of games and then come back, much like he did in August.
while i'm sad to see his season come to a close in this manner, i'm sure no one is more upset about it than Michael himself. he busted his ass to be able to play in the 137 games that he did play in, and he still put together a remarkable season stats-wise. (all those details will be posted in my upcoming Brantley's Final 2015 #s blog.) i hope Michael can recover from this soon and then enjoy his offseason. and whenever he decides to start training again for 2016, i BEG of him not to do whatever he did last offseason that brought on his lower back strain. i want him coming to camp in '16 HEALTHY lol