Michael Brantley’s long road back to full health continues to be full of roadblocks, detours and obstacles.
And what a frustrating trip it has been.
Brantley’s latest attempt to return from consistent shoulder issues hit another snag last week, as the left-handed hitter continued to experience discomfort in his surgically repaired right shoulder.
According to information provided by the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, the outfielder was seen by Dr. Stephen O’Brien at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York City, and it was confirmed that Brantley is experiencing symptoms consistent with chronic biceps tendinitis.
The club is still working through the best plan of action for the 29-year-old left fielder moving forward.
At this point, there has not been any public discussion of shutting him down for the rest of the year, but it is difficult to imagine that not becoming a possibility as the bad news continues to follow the Tribe’s outfielder.
For now, the team will continue to explore all options, which could include surgery.
The 2016 campaign has essentially been a lost season for Brantley. After undergoing surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum in November, Brantley’s recovery attempts have been met with setback after setback.
He managed to return for 11 games in late April, but persistent discomfort landed him back on the disabled list in May.
Brantley has progressed through a handful of return attempts, and it even appeared the talented hitter was trending toward an activation at some point in July, but once again, the recovery train was derailed by pain in the shoulder during his swing.
After undergoing an outpatient procedure to remove scar tissue buildup in his right shoulder, Brantley had been working through his recovery by hitting off a pitching machine in the batting cages.
He was still feeling “very confident” about a potential return in late July.
“It’s very tough, especially when you’ve had a couple setbacks and you think you have it figured out and you kind of get a little different twist,” Brantley said last month. “I’m just going to continue to keep working hard and keep pushing to get back and taking the necessary steps that I need to take.”
Even without the talented outfielder, the Indians have managed to hold on to their lead in the American League Central. Additionally, the Tribe’s offense has performed better than anticipated without Brantley, entering Tuesday’s game ranked second in the AL in runs scored.