The tedious process of resting, recovering and rehabbing for 316 consecutive days may have reached an end for Michael Brantley.
Behind Brantley's two singles and Yandy Diaz's three-run homer, the Indians were able to cruise past the Los Angeles Dodgers 14-5 on Monday afternoon from Goodyear Ballpark.
Trevor Bauer registered a quality start and improved to 2-0 thanks to the overwhelming amount of offensive support from Adam Moore, Abraham Almonte, Bradley Zimmer and Daniel Robertson. Each of the four players hit a home run despite starting the contest on the bench.
Brantley's 2017 debut
A round of applause from a crowd upward of 7,000 fans warmly greeted Brantley as he stepped into the left-handed side of the batters box vs. Brandon McCarthy. The 29-year-old left fielder reached on a fielding error in the first, singled in Erik Gonzalez in the second and singled off reliever Adam Liberatore in the fifth.
"This is what you do all the rehab for," said Brantley to reporters. "(It's) been a long process. It's another step in the process - but a good one."
Assuming there are no further setbacks, Brantley is on track to play on Wednesday and Thursday in the Tribe's next two games with the Colorado Rockies.
Diaz stays hot
Ever since returning from right groin soreness, Diaz has been scorching hot over the last six days batting .533 (8-for-15) and riding a five-game hitting streak.
After an RBI single to score Brantley in the first frame, the Cuban native broke the game wide open with a three-run blast to plate Robertson and Gabriel Mejia and bring the lead to 8-3 in the home half of the fifth.
In addition to Diaz, the second unit consisting of Moore, Almonte, Zimmer and Robertson belted four home runs and accounted for five runs between fifth and eighth innings.
Almonte and Zimmer have now combined for five round-trippers in the Cactus League.
Bauer earns win
For the first time in 2017, Bauer threw his full arsenal of pitches his first time through a batting order. The former UCLA standout had exclusively been using his fastball and split-finger fastball in the early stages of his previous four appearances.
"My curveball actually has a lot of good bite to it," Bauer said. "It doesn't matter what the results of the at-bat are at this point. It's just about executing pitches."
Chase Utley and Joc Pederson each found the sweet spot of their bat barrels in a two-homer third inning off Bauer.
His final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 K (six groundouts, four flyouts).
A 13-day stretch of 15 games comes to an end on Tuesday as the Indians take their first off day since March 7.
Play resumes on Wednesday against the Rockies at 4:10 PM ET from the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, AZ.
Danny Salazar and Kyle Freeland are scheduled to pitch the afternoon battle.