Astros’ Michael Brantley activated after 14-month absence: What this means for Houston


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The Houston Astros are activating Michael Brantley from the injured list, the team announced Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Brantley last played on June 26, 2022, before being placed on the IL with right shoulder discomfort. His 2022 season ended after undergoing torn labrum surgery in August.
  • He began a rehab assignment in April but was shut down indefinitely in May after experiencing inflammation in the surgically repaired shoulder.
  • Brantley signed a one-year, $12 million deal that can reach $16 million if he makes 525 plate appearances in 2023.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What his return means for Houston

Brantley hasn’t taken a major-league at-bat since June 26, 2022, so setting any sort of expectation is difficult. He already suffered two setbacks this season while trying to return from his injury and the team will continue to exercise extreme caution with his playing time. Brantley’s clubhouse presence and veteran leadership can’t be overstated — he has remained with the team and even accompanied it on road trips during his rehab — but whether he’ll be able to produce on the field is a mystery.

Brantley’s return should create a timeshare with Yordan Alvarez both in left field and at designated hitter, which could make it more difficult to get breakout rookie Yainer Diaz more at-bats. Diaz, who also serves as the backup catcher, has started 32 of his 72 games this season at designated hitter. — Rome

What Brantley can provide

If he’s healthy, Brantley can provide balance the Astros desperately need. At times, they’ve carried just two left-handed hitters on their 26-man roster — Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. Both are budding superstars, but for the sake of lineup balance and length, another left-handed bat is needed to break up the glut of right-handed hitters that follow them.

Houston entered Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox with a .730 team OPS against right-handed pitching this season — 17th out of 30 lineups in the sport. Manager Dusty Baker has always preferred hitting Brantley second in the batting order and could do so if and when Brantley demonstrates he’s healthy and able to produce at the major-league level.

Brantley is a lifetime .298 hitter with a .306 clip in four seasons as an Astro. The 36-year-old won’t afford much power, but he’s one of the sport’s most disciplined hitters with an uncanny ability to put the ball in play. — Rome


A five-time All-Star, Brantley was slashing .288/.370/.416 in 64 games before getting injured in 2022. He’s made two All-Star teams with the Astros since signing with Houston in 2019 after 10 years in Cleveland.

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(Photo: Troy Taormina / USA Today)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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