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Storylines: Michael Brantley making progress this spring for the Cleveland Indians

Michael Brantley continues to make some good strides this spring and with every passing day his chances of getting to Cleveland very early in the season continue to improve...

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· What a road back it has been for Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley. After suffering numerous setbacks last season due to right shoulder surgery, Brantley continues to make progress in spring training. He wasn’t supposed to play on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but a plea to bench coach Brad Mills changed that. In the first inning, he hit a two-run homerun against lefty Robbie Ray and finished the game 1-for-4.  It might just be one homerun, but it shows the steady progress that Brantley has made in his recovery. Skipper Terry Francona still doesn’t have him ready to play on Opening Day. “He’s come so far, that Opening Day, in my opinion, is not the finish line for him.” 

News and Notes

· The Philadelphia Phillies have released lefty veteran lefty Sean Burnett.

· According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, former Tribe and Oakland Athletics lefty Ross Detwiler has opted out of his minor league contract with the club. 

· According to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, former Tribe and Minnesota Twins outfielder Drew Stubbs has opted out of his minor league contract with the team.

· Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Tampa Bay Rays have placed righty Kevin Gadea on the 60-day DL with elbow tendinitis.  This makes room for newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.

· The New York Yankess have released veteran lefty Jon Niese.

· Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports that Detroit Tigers outfielder Anthony Gose was reassigned to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. While he’ll still play the outfield, he will also try pitching.

· The Atlanta Braves have signed righty David Hernandez to a minor league deal.

· According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco will begin the season on the DL due to recovery from left shoulder, and right hip surgeries.

· The Colorado Rockies have selected the contract of outfielder Mark Reynolds. In order to create space, the Rockies placed righty Chad Bettis on the 60-day DL.

· Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that veteran lefty Bronson Arroyo will make the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. He hasn’t pitched since 2014.

· George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Tampa Bay Rays have interest in outfielder Rob Refsynder.

· According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Athletics outfielder Alejandro De Aza is expected to exercise his opt-out clause in his minor league deal.

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