Brantley thankful for fans' All-Star support

Indians outfielder having outstanding season following injury-plagued year

Brantley thankful for fans' All-Star support

DETROIT -- Michael Brantley has not paid much attention to the American League All-Star voting updates over the past month. Truth be told, the Indians' left fielder has not needed to look up the results to know where he stood in the balloting.

"I knew I was near the top," Brantley said on Saturday morning. "My mom would tell me every now and then when I talk to her on the phone. She loves it."

The voting is closed, but Brantley ranked fourth among AL outfielders in the most recent update. That an Indians player is near the top is not all that surprising -- Cleveland got plenty of national exposure in its run to the World Series last season -- but the fact that Brantley has a shot at a roster spot is nonetheless impressive. The outfielder missed nearly all of 2016 due to injury issues.

The AL and National League rosters will be unveiled at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday during the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN.

"I know how much our fans think of him," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Brantley. "Sometimes you see, when teams play deeper into October, you get more national attention. But he was hurt. I think it's good to see that it seems like baseball fans are respecting what he's done. I think we're all thrilled about it."

Through 57 games this season entering Saturday, Brantley turned in a .306/.371/.444 slash line with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and seven steals in his comeback campaign. As of the latest All-Star results, Brantley had 1,325,473 votes, putting him roughly 300,000 behind Houston's George Springer for third place. White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia and Boston's Mookie Betts were right behind Brantley in the balloting.

Brantley said he is grateful that so many fans have voted for him to make the All-Star team.

"It's very much appreciated," Brantley said. "Hopefully, they know all the hard work it took to come back. I know they heard about it, but I'm just thankful, blessed and appreciative that I'm playing baseball again."

Francona bringing staff, Cash to All-Star Game

Francona, who will manage the AL, will bring his entire Indians coaching staff with him to Miami for the 2017 All-Star Game, and he has invited Rays manager Kevin Cash to join the AL staff. The traveling party will include bench coach Brad Mills, pitching coach Mickey Callaway, bullpen coach Jason Bere, hitting coaches Ty Van Burkleo and Matt Quatraro, first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh.

Francona added that replay coordinator Mike Barnett, staff assistant Scott Atchison, strength and conditioning coach Joe Kessler and bullpen catchers Armando Camacaro and Ricky Pacione will also head to Miami with Cleveland's staff.

"I'm glad that our staff is going to be able to be recognized," Francona said. "That doesn't happen enough. They work so hard, and it always seems like it's mostly behind the scenes. I'll be happy for them."

Merritt added as 26th man

The Indians recalled left-hander Ryan Merritt from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday to serve as the 26th man during the doubleheader against the Tigers. Merritt will provide the bullpen with an insurance arm before returning to the Minors.

Merritt strikes out Buxton

Colon suspended by MLB

Triple-A Columbus right-hander Joseph Colon, who is on Cleveland's 40-man roster, has been suspended for the remainder of the 2017 season by Major League Baseball for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Colon tested positive for the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) LGD-4022, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.