CLEVELAND: Michael Brantley will return to the Indians' lineup tonight after missing four games with a sprained ankle.
""Unless he comes in after a game and says the ankle feels sore, something like that, there are no restrictions on him,'' manager Manny Acta said this afternoon.
But Brantley might feel a little restricted, or constricted, because he will wear a brace on his deft ankle until further notice.
""My ankle feels good, but the brace is kind of uncomfortable,'' he said. ""It also feels a little heavy, but I'll probably wear it the rest of the year to make sure I don't hurt the ankle again.''
Acta is hoping that Brantley's return will give the offense a little spark after being limited to three runs in the past four games. Not that Brantley, a novice, is expected to carry the attack. But since coming back from Columbus on Aug. 6, he is batting .327 with two home runs, seven RBI and 12 runs in 12 games.
With Brantley back in center, Trevor Crowe will move to left and Shelley Duncan to the bench.
Mitch Talbot, tonight's starter, has been stuck on eight wins since June 27, seven starts ago. One reason is a lack of run support (3.1 runs per game), but that's not the only reason.
""Being in double digits in wins is a big deal for every pitcher,'' Acta said. ""Maybe he's thinking too much about that. Starters only pitch once every five days, so they have lots of time to think.''