Indians outfielder Michael Brantley sidelined again with back issue; DL unlikely



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CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley's back issue has sent him to the bench again.

The Indians All-Star outfielder, who missed two games in Houston earlier this week with tightness in his lower back, sat out Saturday against the Detroit Tigers and will likely miss the series finale as well.

Brantley's back has bothered him for several weeks and acted up late in Friday's home opener. The 27-year-old was examined by team doctors after the team returned home and he was cleared to be in the lineup.

"His back spasms flared up toward the end of the game last night," manager Terry Francona said Saturday. "I probably got a little carried away yesterday when Michael told me he was ready to play. I probably should have said, 'No, you're not playing.' He'll want to play, but I think this is the smarter way to handle it. I just want him to be himself."

Francona does not expect Brantley, who finished third in MVP voting last season, to go on the disabled list. Francona indicated Brantley will probably miss Sunday's game since the Indians are also off Monday, giving Cleveland's best position player more time to recover.

"We've talked about everything, but I don't think anybody thinks we need to DL him," Francona said.

Brantley is batting just .125 and has driven in one run in two games. He was scratched from the starting lineup Wednesday in Houston and also sat out Thursday's game.

He hit .327 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs last season.

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