CLEVELAND – The need for offensive reinforcements has never been more apparent after the Indians batted .206 (21-for-102) and left 30 men on base in a losing effort to the Twins this past weekend.
Help has arrived in hopes a familiar outfield duo can right the Cleveland ship.
The Tribe activated Michael Brantley (right ankle sprain) and Brandon Guyer (left wrist sprain) from the 10-day disabled list on Monday afternoon. Daniel Robertson and Shawn Armstrong will head to Triple-A Columbus in a pair of corresponding moves.
Brantley suffered his injury during a game against the Royals in early June, a soreness that lingered throughout the month until the club placed him on the DL last Monday.
“Brant is back on and he’ll be on the bench tonight,” said manager Terry Francona. “I mean, having Brant back is always good.”
The 30-year-old outfielder batted .296/.360/.432 (.792 OPS) with 13 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs in 54 games (206 at-bats) this season. He participated in running drills over the past two days and will be available to pinch-hit off the bench vs. Texas on Monday.
“The reason behind [not starting Brantley] is he still needed to have a pretty impactful day,” Francona said. “(He needed to) run the bases and it started at like 3:30. As much as you’d like to have him the lineup, (you would) hate to have him be down for two weeks, play a night and then tomorrow be sore. We’ll have him available to pinch-hit and then he’ll play tomorrow.”
Guyer has not played since May 12, a date where he went 0-for-3 before beginning his lengthy stint on the DL just two days later.
“The first couple of weeks even after the cortisone shot, it wasn’t feeling good,” said Guyer. “I would notice it all the time. Even not just swinging, drying off and stuff. We did different training, in the training room, different sorts of treatments and stuff. Turned a corner, thank God. It got me to the point where I don’t even notice it at all. Pumped it took that corner. For a while there I was a little worried I’d be out the whole year.”
His six rehab appearances with the Clippers indicated he was ready to be cleared from the final step of rehabilitation.
“The wrist feels really good,” Guyer said. “It’s something that I’ve been wearing it the whole time. Why not still wear it? Down there, it was just a couple hit-by-pitches recently. Just trying to have some sort of protection. I don’t want to wear it again. It just takes getting hit in the wrong spot and so hopefully that doesn’t happen.”
The platoon specialist slashed .182/.237/.291 with three doubles, one home run and five RBIs in 21 games (55 at-bats). He will bat sixth and play left field opposite Cole Hamels in the series opener.
“Guyer wasn’t swinging the bat great before he got hurt,” said Francona. “But having his toughness is always welcome. He’s just a tough kid. That characteristic, that trait is always welcome.”
Robertson provided a spark of energy, but eventually fell into a 0-for-23 skid and a .225 (18-for-80) batting average in 32 contests.
Armstrong will pass through the wrong side of the revolving door between Triple-A and the big leagues for the fourth time this campaign.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.