Branyan's goal is to get in a Minor League game Monday and in a Cactus League game on Tuesday. But that schedule is not a firm one and could be pushed back, depending on how Branyan's back responds to the increased activity this weekend.Every day of exhibition play that Branyan misses directly impacts his chances of being ready for Opening Day. "If you look at Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, that's only three days, but, in the scheme of things, that's a lot of time," Branyan said. "Monday means a lot more than Wednesday, as far as getting ready for Opening Day." Manager Manny Acta has suggested the Indians could manipulate Branyan's schedule to ensure he gets sufficient at-bats in the final week of Spring Training. For instance, Branyan could play in a Minor League game and lead off every inning to guarantee himself nine at-bats. But at-bats aren't what worry Branyan. The grind of playing in the field and being on his feet for the better part of three hours is the more pressing concern, given the state of his back and the questions that have yet to be answered. "I'm not fooling anybody," he said. "I've got to be in condition to go day in and day out." Though Branyan missed the final month of the 2009 season with the Mariners, the Indians were comfortable enough with the condition of his back, following a full physical examination, to sign off on his contract. But Branyan had a setback when the volume of his workload increased in camp, and he's spent much more time in the trainer's room than on the field. "There isn't a sense of desperation here," he said. "We're calculated here ... At the end of each day, we reassess, and that helps us build for the next day. Today is another step going forward."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less