CLEVELAND (AP) Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has played through aches and pains all year long. Now he has a right shoulder injury that could sideline him for Cleveland's final week of the season.
Brantley was not in the lineup Tuesday night against the Twins because of soreness, and manager Terry Francona said the former All-Star was being examined by an orthopedist. He got hurt last week while attempting to make a diving catch in Minnesota.
Francona said the team will wait for results from the doctor before deciding the next step, and one of them could be shutting down Brantley for Cleveland's final seven games.
''If we need to,'' Francona said when asked if Brantley could be done. ''I don't think you do it unless you need to. I think our guys have done a really good job these last two months of playing through a lot of adversity and challenges. Again, there has to be common sense when it comes to injuries, but I also feel like the season doesn't wind down, it comes to a crashing halt, and I'll never change that thinking.''
Brantley sat out four games on the road before returning to the lineup Sunday. He went 0 for 4 in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Twins.
Francona said Brantley and several other players, including Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis and catcher Yan Gomes, have played hurt during Cleveland's postseason push.
''I think he was probably fighting more things than people realize,'' Francona said of Brantley. ''He's pretty beat up. He's done a heck of a job.''
Brantley, who began the season slowed by a back issue that started in spring training, is batting .310 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs in 137 games. He finished third in the AL MVP voting last season.
Although they've been inconsistent much of the year, the Indians remain alive in the AL wild-card chase in the final week. They entered Tuesday's action five games behind Houston for the second AL spot.