The baseball business is nothing new to Indians young prospect outfielder Michael Brantley.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Brantley, son of former major leaguer Mickey Brantley, grew up around the game and understands its quirky nuances.
But it wasn't until he was traded for the first time in 2008 that the younger Brantley realized that neither his baseball background nor his father, could help ease the transition he faced.
When the Indians traded left-handed ace C.C. Sabathia in the middle of an '08 season going no where, they acquired four players from the Milwaukee Brewers: the centerpiece of the deal in outfielder/first baseman Matt LaPorta, two pitchers in Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson and later, as the infamous player to be named, Brantley.
As the final piece of the deal, Brantley wasn't acquired until October in the off season. So he spent the next few months feeling anxious about getting to know a new group of players and coaches in a new organization.
Brantley knew the Indians liked his speed and base stealing abilities or they wouldn't have scouted him so heavily and traded for him. Yet, he still felt he had a lot to prove being the new guy.
"When I came to (Triple-A) Columbus last year, I tried to do too much too early," Brantley said Wednesday at Progressive Field as he and a group of other prospects prepared to hit the road for the Tribe's annual press tour across Ohio before spring training. "In the end, it taught me to just use the tools I was blessed with and not worry about anything else."
When he finally made his major league debut in September, the left-handed hitting Brantley batted .313 in 28 games. But he struggled to steal bases, being caught (four) as many times as he was successful.
So now in preparing for his second spring training with the Indians, Brantley's main goal is to simply stay "within myself and try not to do too much."
"I want to earn the position," Brantley said. "I want the new coaching staff to say with confidence: 'This is our left fielder' and not because they didn't have anyone to choose from."
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