Bench coach Joe Espada said Wednesday that Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley will soon get a second opinion on his injured right shoulder. Because of an injury, Brantley has been sidelined since June 26; however, the Astros have not specified what that injury is. When asked if surgery was a possibility, Espada dodged the question.
“When I think of Michael, I feel a void. Everyone on the team is grieving Michael’s absence “As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Espada stated the following. “We understand and support Michael’s right to get a second opinion whenever he feels the need, but we also worry when he isn’t around. There is no denying that Michael Brantley is missed by everyone.”
The fact that Brantley is seeking a second opinion is noteworthy, but not surprising, given the severity of his condition. The collective bargaining agreement allows players to get a second opinion from a doctor of their choosing, and this occurs frequently. While the Astros are tight-lipped about Brantley’s injury, he hasn’t played in nearly two months.
The Astros’ general manager, James Click, told MLB.com on August 2 that the team is “optimistic and hopeful” Michael Brantley will play this season.
The Astros have acquired Trey Mancini at the trade deadline due to their concern for Brantley’s shoulder. Yordan Alvarez has played left field in 36 games this season, nearly as many as in his previous three seasons combined (51), and he has done a good job defensively by most measures. With Alvarez capable of playing left, Mancini, or Brantley upon his return, can take over at designated hitter.
Before his injury, Brantley, 35, was batting.288/.370/.416 with five home runs in 64 games, which, given his history, is a down year. He’s currently two years into a $32 million deal that will end when the current season does, making him a free agent. Houston’s offense has not been particularly potent this year, as evidenced by the fact that they sit at 14th in the league in runs per game.
The Astros have the best record in the AL at 71-41, and they’re also leading the AL West by 10 1/2 games. They can be patient with Brantley throughout his rehabilitation thanks to the division’s comfortable lead.
While Dusty Baker is away from the team due to a positive COVID-19 test, Espada is running the show in Houston in his absence.
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