TORONTO -- The Indians are optimistic that left fielder Michael Brantley will not be sidelined long with the minor back injury that forced him to leave Wednesday's win over the Blue Jays in the fifth inning.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona held Brantley out of the starting lineup for Thursday's game in Toronto, but said that decision was merely precautionary. The Indians are wrapping up a six-game stretch on artificial turf (Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre), which may have played a role in the mid-back tightness that flared for Brantley.
Francona indicated that Brantley will likely be cleared to return to the lineup against the A's on Friday in Cleveland.
"He's doing really well," Francona said prior to Thursday's game. "I just think since we're on turf, it's the last day of the trip, I'm not going to play him tonight. I think he'll be good to go tomorrow. He's going to take [batting practice]. He's already come out and thrown a little bit.
"It's just, rather than him getting up and down and getting loose and doing that, we'll give him the day and I think he'll be really ready to go. He's OK."
On the season, Brantley is hitting .279 with a team-leading seven home runs and 30 RBIs through 20 games for the Indians.
Brantley's initial replacement, left fielder Nyjer Morgan, sustained a sprained right knee in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Cleveland promoted first baseman Jesus Aguilar from Triple-A Columbus to take Morgan's spot on the active roster, but Ryan Raburn got the nod in left field.
Francona said he planned on meeting with general manager Chris Antonetti in Cleveland this weekend to go over some upcoming roster decisions. Designated hitter Jason Giambi (on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf issue) will be eligible to be activated Monday. For Thursday's game, Aguilar was slotted into the lineup as the Tribe's DH.
"We've got Aguilar here. He'll DH tonight," Francona said. "And when we get back to Cleveland, Chris and I obviously talk a ton, but we'll certainly sit down and kind of see where we're at. We've got 'G' coming. There's some things. We'll make sure we're organized on how what fits and when."