Saturday, December 31, 2016

Brantley News & Updates from November & December 2016

Happy New Year's Eve, Brantley fans! since the conclusion of the World Series, there really hasn't been a whole lot of notable information on the update front other than the plan for Michael's upcoming hitting progression being unveiled during the Winter Meetings. the rumor mill, however, was abuzz with unfounded gossip around the Christmas holiday. so before the clock strikes midnight and we start the new year, i present you with this last bit of news about Michael in 2016 from both November and December.

November News & Updates

November 4: the Indians twitter account reported that Michael is expected to resume baseball activities in December and be ready for spring training. Jordan Bastian followed up by tweeting the Indians are planning on Michael being ready for a normal spring training and will navigate the offseason with that expectation.

"Michael's progressing really well," Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said in Bastian's article on "he's right on schedule for his rehab." and from a video on, Antonetti further elaborated, "he'll complete all of his normal physical work and then begin baseball activities at
some point in December."

in Zack Meisel's article on, Antonetti continued, "based upon everything the doctors are telling us and our medical staff and multiple medical experts, we're very confident in that [Michael can return to form in 2017]. we are planning for him to be an every day player."

earlier in the week, Michael delivered short answers to reporters about his status, such as he was "doing great," "feeling good," and "building up every week."

rumors were also swirling that Michael could potentially be moved to 1st base or be the new part-time DH, as i briefly touched on in my Wrapping Up Brantley's 2016 Season blog. via Meisel's article, Michael expressed that he would prefer to remain in the outfield. "at some point down the road, that could be a conversation," Antonetti responded, "but that's not our plan right now."

my thought: Michael just needs to come back healthy next season and be his usual self and then all this changing his position nonsense will go away.

November 5: Michael was photographed with Josh Tomlin at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, before the Ohio State Buckeyes football game versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers:

photo courtesy of @LanternTV on twitter

November 7: Tribeinsider was the first to tweet that Michael had been activated from the 60-Day DL. this is a typical procedural move that teams make in their offseason, albeit one that i have been waiting for for months and wish had come much sooner. if Michael had been activated during the season, i absolutely would have created a separate blog about it, but now there's no need because there's nothing else to tell. after being transferred to the 60-Day on July 3, Michael spent a total of 127 days on it. here's hoping that's the last he sees of the disabled list for a loooong time.

December News & Updates

December 1: Zack Meisel tweeted that Michael, along with Josh Tomlin and Terry Francona, was at the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game at Quicken Loans Arena. oddly enough though, nobody who saw him at the game posted any photos of him being there.🙁

December 3: in Paul Hoynes' Hey, Hoynsie article on, he replied to a fan's question about upgrading the Indians outfield by confirming that Michael is scheduled to start baseball activities later this month and he's been in Cleveland since the end of the World Series rehabbing his right shoulder.

December 5: Hoynsie tweeted that Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti told the media (during the Winter Meetings) that Michael will begin swinging the bat in late December after Christmas, and Jordan Bastian added the Indians expect him to be ready for spring training and the season. Michael was re-evaluated last month per Bastian's article on and Antonetti contended that he continues to make progress.

December 6: the following day, Hoynsie included more from Antonetti about Michael in his article. "he's still rehabbing. our expectations are that right after the holidays he'll begin his hitting progression and that's the thing that has been most difficult for him in the past. those are probably the key milestones that he needs to continue to progress through. he's going to meet each of those milestones earlier now. instead of him getting into spring training and really ramping up his hitting, he should be able to do that in the offseason--in January moreso than in February or March. that really helps."

December 10: Slider participated in a Breakfast with Santa event sponsored by Pepsi, and Michael was the special guest:

photo of @SliderTheMascot on twitter

i unfortunately could not gather any details about this event. i don't know where it took place or what it was all about. (comment below if you do!) my apologies.

December 13: Michael was photographed in the Indians clubhouse gym with Yan Gomes, Danny Salazar, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Carrasco:

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

as you can see, he's got something propping up his neck and has his right hand on top of a weight ball. i assume he was doing shoulder-strengthening exercises prior to this picture.

December 17: when a fan asked how many games Michael would play in 2017 in a Hey, Hoynsie article on, Hoynsie explained that the real test will come when he goes through the daily routine of camp in February. contrary to some people's popular belief that Michael's shoulder can be "saved" by using him as a part-time DH, Hoynsie reminded readers that swinging the bat was his problem last year; he'd get to a certain point in his rehab attempts and he'd have to stop swinging [due to shoulder pain].

December 24: Merry Christmas Eve, Michael's career is over! well, it is at least according to Jonah Keri anyway. he says sources claim you should not draft Michael for your 2017 fantasy team and he may never be a significant contributor because "this is a horrific, horrifically bad injury and there's some problems." Keri gave this interview on December 23, but it didn't gain traction with fans until the next day. (you can hear him speaking on Michael at the 7:15 mark in this audio clip from Hoynsie then eased the minds of fans on twitter by stating that the Indians denied this story and Michael is still on schedule for spring training.

Keri is not one of my go-to Indians sources, and honestly, it didn't even sound like he understood what Michael's issue is. the labral tear was fixed--that's done, that's over with. now we're just waiting to find out if the bicep tendinitis (which is a condition, NOT an injury) was taken care of. rest assured, the initial matter from September 2015 is not worse, and his current recovery stems from a different procedure. regardless, unless Keri's sources were in the room with one of Michael's doctors during his checkup, there's truthfully no way to know whether his career is over or not, but it's kind of ridiculous to pronounce that it is right now.

i wrote a couple months ago that i was surprised nobody had started the "Michael's career is over" allegation yet. well here it is. i guess there was no other story to run with at this point. now i'm kind of shocked that it didn't come out during the Winter Meetings. this is giving me major déjà vu of last year's Winter Meetings when Peter Gammons dropped the bomb that Michael wouldn't return until August. and look at how that ended up--Michael was playing with the Indians in late April, so Gammons was wrong. these unnamed "sources" obviously don't know everything.

here's my silly suggestion: why don't we allow Michael to attempt a comeback from his biceps tenodesis first before anyone insinuates that his shoulder is gone and his career might be done?

i hate to end this blog on a sour note, so let me repeat that Michael was supposedly going to be cleared to swing a bat in some capacity after the holiday. given that the holiday has officially passed, have at it, Dr. Smooth!

in 2016, the order of his typical hitting progression went:
--dry swings
--hitting off a tee
--soft toss
--hitting off a pitching machine in the batting cage
--hitting live pitching on the field

while the last one won't take place until spring training, he can easily check off the others by the time he's scheduled to report to Goodyear, Arizona, on February 16 as long as nothing goes wrong. think positive!🙂

for all of Michael's previous health updates between his season-ending surgery on August 15 and the Indians' postseason October/November run, you can refer back to these blogs:
Brantley's August 2016 w/ Post-Surgery Interview
Brantley's September/October 2016 w/ Sling Updates
Brantley's 2016 Postseason October/November w/ Rehab Updates & Pics

need a New Year's resolution? how about following my twitter @clevelandgirl23? that way you're sure to see all the latest Michael updates and rehab news during the remainder of this offseason. (there's only 43 days left until pitchers and catchers report to spring training!) and if you'd like to receive email notifications whenever i post a new blog, you can sign up for my subscription list over on the right side of the blog under the Archives sidebar.

i hope all my readers have a Happy New Year, and i also hope 2017 brings Michael a HEALTHY New Year!

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