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Brantley returns vs. Rangers, will be ready for season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians left fielder Michael Brantley returned to the field on Sunday after spending the better part of the past two weeks recovering from a left forearm laceration.

For Sunday's Cactus League contest against the Rangers, Brantley served as the designated hitter and hit in the leadoff spot. It marked his first game appearance since being spiked while sliding in a game on Feb. 25 against the A's.

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"He's fine," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's been doing stuff. He'll be just fine. He might've lost his timing a little bit, but he's got plenty of time to get it back."

In the third inning of Cleveland's 14-10 win over Oakland earlier this spring, Brantey doubled and attempted to advance to third base on the play. He got into a foot race with with A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, who accidentally stepped on Brantley's left forearm as he slid head-first into the base.

Brantley required 15 stitches to seal the wound and had them removed on Thursday. He was a full participant in workouts over the past couple of days and is scheduled to return to left field in Monday's home game against the Angels.

Francona gave Brantley the choice of working as a DH in a Minor League "B" game on Monday morning or playing left field in the Cactus League game against Los Angeles. Brantley told his manager that he wants to get back in the outfield as soon as possible.

"He said he wanted to get in the outfield and move around," Francona said.

Prior to the injury, the 25-year-old Brantley had gone 5-for-6 with four doubles and two RBIs this spring. In his first game back with the team on Sunday, he flew out to center field in the first inning and grounded out to Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler in the second.

Last season, Brantley hit .288 with six homers, 37 doubles, 60 RBIs and 63 runs in 149 games for the Indians.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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