With Sizemore back, Brantley No. 7 in lineup

With Sizemore back, Brantley No. 7 in lineup

KANSAS CITY -- After a one-day hiatus, Michael Brantley returned to the Indians' lineup on Monday, but the young outfielder had a new home in the batting order. Brantley was Cleveland's new seventh hitter.

With Grady Sizemore back with the Tribe, following a lengthy rehab from left knee surgery, Brantley was forced to shift from center field to left and vacate the leadoff spot. Sitting at his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium, Brantley said manager Manny Acta explained the decision.

"We sat down and talked about it yesterday," Brantley said prior to Monday's game against the Royals. "He just kind of reiterated what was going to happen and what's going on. I'll keep that between us."

Asked if he was fine with the lineup change, Brantley said the team came first.

"It's whatever they decide," he said. "I don't make that decision. I'll just go out there and play hard each and every day and let the management and upper management take care of that. Wherever my name is in the lineup, I'll be ready to play."

Entering Monday's action, the 23-year-old Brantley was hitting .302 with four doubles, six RBIs and a .367 on-base percentage through 14 games as Cleveland's leadoff man. The Tribe's left fielder is hoping to continue to have that type of success out of the No. 7 hole.

"I've been playing very well," Brantley said. "I'm very happy with the way I've been playing. I've been playing good each and every day, and just helping my team out the best I can. That's all I can ask for out of myself, and hopefully I can continue to do that throughout the year."

Acta believed the seventh spot was ideal for Brantley for a few reasons. First, the manager liked the idea of Brantley hitting behind No. 6 hitter Orlando Cabrera. Acta believes Cabrera and Brantley will create "more traffic" for Matt LaPorta, who boasts decent power out of the eight spot. Beyond that, due to Brantley's ability to steal bases, Acta feels LaPorta might see more fastballs.

"I think it's a good fit," Acta said.

Acta added that he does not buy into the theory that a faster, leadoff-type hitter should be slotted into the ninth hole, pairing him with the No. 1 hitter. The Indians manager believes Brantley is too good of a hitter to bat last. Acta also hopes Brantley will maintain the same approach at the plate.

"He works the count and uses the whole field," Acta said. "I don't think he's going to change it. I think most of these guys, their approach won't change unless you really drill it in their head that they need to do this and they need to do that."

Brantley, however, said the move will probably alter the way he goes about things.

"When you hit seventh, you have to change your approach," he saod. "You're not a leadoff hitter. It's not about taking pitches. It's not about working the count. It's really about driving in runs when you're in the seventh hole. So, yeah, my approach does change. But at the same time, you've got to swing at good quality pitches."