Brantley spiked in Indians' win over Athletics
PHOENIX (AP) — Michael Brantley sprinted for third base, trying to take advantage of an overthrow. He walked off the field moments later, his arm dangling at his side.
The Cleveland left fielder needed stitches in his left forearm after being spiked Monday during the Indians' 14-10 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Brantley was hurt on a play that ended the third inning. A's third baseman Josh Donaldson gathered the ball near the pitcher's mound and raced Brantley to the bag, stepping on his arm as he applied the tag.
"I don't know how many stitches and you never like any injury, but in this case there was some relief on my part," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
"When he came off the field, his batting glove was hanging and I thought I saw his finger extended out at a weird angle. So, all in all, the news could have been worse. We'll evaluate him tomorrow," he said.
The 25-year-old Brantley hit .288 with 60 RBIs last season.
Brantley's injury dampened a win that made the Indians 5-0 in exhibition play under their new manager. Justin Masterson pitched two perfect innings in his first spring start.
"Today, it was two innings, nice and easy," Masterson said. "I was able to finish off pitches. I kept the ball on the ground and that is nice. It's good to have it in the zone and not get crushed. I had the sinker going and that's a good thing, especially in Arizona."
After scuffling to a 7-17 record in his first season and a half as a starter, Masterson seemed to come into his own in 2011. He posted a 12-10 record in 33 starts, walking only 65 in 216 innings, as the Indians stayed in the pennant race through the first half of the season.
But he fell off last season, dropping to 11-15 with a 4.93 ERA and a career-worst 88 walks in 34 starts.
"The thing for me is about relaxing and not trying to do too much," Masterson said. "If you can get outs throwing it at 90, 91 (mph), you don't always have to run it up there at 95, 97. You know you have something left in the tank."
"I think that was the case in about seven or eight bad starts last year. I was fine for the first two innings. Then I looked up at the gun and it said 91 or something. And I said, 'OK, now is time to do a little more.' But that is not always the case. Sometimes, less is better."