DETROIT -- First baseman Russell Branyan had an encouraging performance Thursday night in a rehab game for Triple-A Columbus. Branyan went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI in a rehab game at Triple-A Columbus, as the Clippers pounded visiting Indianapolis in the International League season opener, 17-4.
Branyan was placed on the 15-day disabled list at the start of the season with a herniated disc in his back, but it is expected that he will join the Indians at some point in April. When that occurs, Cleveland is expected to slide Matt LaPorta back to left field from first base.
The Indians' training staff will see how quickly Branyan bounces back and rounds into game shape, manager Manny Acta said. Branyan may not play every day during his time with Columbus, and there may be some instances when he will DH rather than play the field.
"We haven't set a date as to when we may bring him back yet," Acta said, although the Cleveland manager suggested he would expect Branyan to be back with the Indians within two weeks.
"He's building up his stamina right now, so we'll see how it goes," Acta said. "Our medical staff has a plan for him."