There remains no certainty on the availability of Michael Brantley on Opening Day for the Houston Astros, but it’s still a good sign that the veteran outfielder has returned to camp Monday, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.
Moreover, Astros manager Dusty Baker has also not closed the door completely on Michael Brantley’s chances of being active for Houston’s 2023 season debut on Mar. 30 against the Chicago White Sox at home, saying that it “will be close,” when asked about the player’s Opening Day status.
Michael Brantley missed the entire second half of the 2022 MLB season plus the postseason after having surgery on his right shoulder in August of that year. He also spent time away from the team recently to attend to a family matter.
Baker’s brief assessment of Michael Brantley echoed the Astros general manager Dana Brown’s projection of when the five-time All-Star will make his return.
“It’s going to be really close, to be there Opening Day or shortly thereafter, a week after, tops,” Brown said last week (h/t Denton Ramsey of Sports Illustrated). “We don’t know where that is. I’m hoping no later than April 10 with him.”
In 2022, Michael Brantley appeared in 64 games and hit .288 with a .370 OBP and 4.16 SLG along with five home runs and 26 RBI across 277 plate appearances.
If he ultimately fails to get a green light to be there with the Astros on Opening Day, Brantley, who inked a one-year deal with the Astros back in December that’s worth $12 million, will probably play in the next series against the Detroit Lions at home.