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The Indians are worried about Michael Brantley's shoulder

Tuesday's Say Hey, Baseball includes Michael Brantley's continued shoulder woes, 16 months of Padres' disasters, and the Most Royals play you've seen this year.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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The Indians are in first place in the American League Central, winners of six in a row, and they've managed to do this without their star outfielder, Michael Brantley. That's probably a good thing, as they're going to have to be without Brantley for "significant" time, if reports from Monday are any indication. Supposedly, the Indians are privately concerned about the condition of Brantley's surgically repaired shoulder. Publicly, they're denying that there has been any change in their level of concern. They're also giving similar statements to the other times Brantley's shoulder has been in question, though, and there is no timetable in mind for his return, so general manager Chris Antonetti's statement doesn't exactly have meaning, either.

Again, the Indians have played well without Brantley around, but they already lost outfielder Abraham Almonte for 80 games to a PED suspension, and Marlon Byrd, who was filling in well enough in the outfield, was just suspended for 162 games for PED use. Their outfield has two former infielders (Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez) in it, as well as Rajai Davis. While that's not bad, Brantley was one of the top players in the AL the previous two seasons. In a tight AL Central race that has already seen the White Sox and Royals split time in first place in addition to the Indians, having Brantley back is an eventual necessity.

We can't even guess at a return date for Brantley, as the Indians don't have one they're sharing and the shoulder fatigue he is experiencing is kind of a vague diagnosis. Did something not heal right? Has he just not returned all the necessary strength to the area after his procedure? Is more rest enough to get him back to feeling good? Did Brantley undo some of the good of the surgery by coming back as soon as he did? This is all stuff we'll just have to wait to find out, as uncomfortable as that might make Indians' fans. But hey, at least Cleveland is in first place without Brantley, huh?