CLEVELAND - Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has returned to his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., to be with wife Melissa for the birth of their first child.
Manager Terry Francona isn't sure how long Brantley, the Indians' everyday left fielder, will be away from the club. Brantley is batting .278 with eight home runs, 59 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 132 games.
Brantley was in the clubhouse before batting practice Friday when he decided to leave. Jason Kubel moved from right to left and Drew Stubbs started in right.
The Indians are one of several teams battling for a wild-card spot in the American League, but Francona encouraged Brantley to return home.
"He's so conscientious," Francine said. "He's got so much anxiety. He was struggling whether he should go or not. I told him there really is no decision. We'd love to have him (batting) fifth, but if you miss a birth of your baby, dealing with experience, I missed one of mine, and it's not good. As important as baseball is to all of us, and to me more so than probably anybody ever, I still would hate to be responsible for somebody missing the birth of your child. So he's on his way."