"You don't want to ever lose anybody," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday morning. "But when you see a guy sitting out there, then you hear the trainers say, 'Well, give us a day to kind of look,' it makes you feel a heck of a lot better than maybe we did last night."
In the fifth inning of Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Rockies, Mark Reynolds hit a routine fly ball to Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer to open the frame. On the play, while Zimmer camped under the ball for the catch, Brantley took a seat in the grass in left field. He ran hard for a few steps, began hopping in pain and then eased himself to the ground.
Brantley's reaction stemmed from the fact that the left fielder feared for a moment that he injured his Achilles tendon, so he did not want to move. That injury was ruled out through on-field testing before Brantley walked off under his own power. The outfielder then underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday night to further rule out any serious injuries.
"I was relieved when he pointed to where it was hurting," Francona said. "It was on the side. I don't know. When somebody is sitting out there, you're never really relieved, but I knew it wasn't an Achilles."
Through 88 games this season, Brantley has hit .299 with nine home runs, 20 doubles, 47 runs, 52 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and an .802 OPS. In what has been an impressive comeback campaign for Brantley, he was named to his second American League All-Star team. A year ago, the left fielder was limited to only 11 games due to persistent right shoulder and biceps woes.
With Brantley temporarily out of the picture, Jose Ramirez will likely move into the third spot of Cleveland's batting order. Outfielders Abraham Almonte, Austin Jackson and Brandon Guyer each offer an option for Francona to mix in as a left fielder while Brantley is sidelined. Almonte took over for Brantley in Tuesday's game and again got the nod in left on Wednesday.
"We're praying for him," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said of Brantley. "We're hoping for a nice little bounceback from him. We know we need him. That guy is unbelievable. He does it day in and day out -- he just competes. They call him Dr. Smooth for a reason. That guy can play, man. He's as smooth as can be."
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 Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.