Brantley notches 2 hits in Cactus League debut

Brantley notches 2 hits in Cactus League debut

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When Michael Brantley was pulled for a pinch-runner in the fifth inning on Monday, the Indians outfielder received a warm round of applause from his Goodyear Ballpark audience. Tribe fans were undoubtedly thrilled to see Brantley back on the field in the 14-5 victory over the Dodgers.

In his first Cactus League game of the spring, Brantley went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and an RBI. It was an important step for the left fielder, who missed all but 11 games in 2016 due to right shoulder woes, and he is currently coming back from August surgery on his right biceps.

"That's what you do all the rehab for and why you stick with the process," Brantley said. "To be back out there with your teammates. I was able to do that today. Hopefully I continue to do that down the road."

Brantley happy with spring debut

"It was good all the way around," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Brantley's spring debut. "He took a couple good swings. He faced a lefty. He had a check swing that didn't bother him. Things like that. He looked amazingly normal for a guy that hasn't played very much."

In his fourth start of the spring, Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy was charged with five runs, but only two were earned due to a pair of first-inning errors by first baseman Ike Davis. McCarthy ended with two strikeouts, no walks and six hits allowed in his 4 1/3 innings against the Indians, who struck for four runs in the first.

"The last couple of innings the execution was there," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of McCarthy. "The first couple of innings, we weren't making plays, a couple of balls found holes. I think right now where we are in the spring. We feel comfortable, and I think Brandon feels comfortable."

Against Tribe right-hander Trevor Bauer, who logged five-plus innings, the Dodgers scored three runs. Joc Pederson launched his fifth home run of the spring -- a leadoff shot in the fifth -- and Chase Utley belted a solo homer in the third. Utley also doubled in the first and scored on a single by Justin Turner. The veteran infielder finished the game 3-for-4 and a triple shy of the cycle.

Bauer on his start vs. Dodgers

Yandy Diaz and Abraham Almonte highlighted the Indians' offense, each hitting a three-run home run. Diaz delivered his against Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore in the fifth, and Almonte came through with a pinch-hit blast off Yaisel Sierra in the seventh. Diaz, who is competing for the starting third-base job, had two hits and four RBIs on the afternoon.

Outfielder Bradley Zimmer -- Cleveland's No. 1 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com -- added a solo home run in the eighth inning, and Daniel Robertson followed with a homer run of his own for back-to-back shots for the Indians.

Dodgers Up Next: Hyun-Jin Ryu, healthy but with no apparent spot in the starting rotation, gets the ball against the Brewers at Camelback Ranch at 1:05 p.m. PT. It will be Ryu's third Cactus League start, and he enters the game with a 1.80 ERA.

Indians Up Next: Following a team off-day on Tuesday, right-hander Danny Salazar is scheduled to take the mound for the Indians in a 4:10 p.m. ET Cactus League clash with the Rockies on Wednesday at Salt River Fields on MLB.TV. Carlos Santana, who recently returned from the World Baseball Classic, is expected to be back in the lineup for the Tribe.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.