Spring training position battles

Cleveland Indians: Left Fielder

It's Brantley, for now: When the Indians signed Russell Branyan in late February, the master plan was for Michael Brantley to begin the season at Triple-A Columbus.

A strong spring by Brantley and back problems for Branyan changed all that, and the Indians have informed the 22-year-old who was acquired in the CC Sabathia trade that he will be their starting left fielder.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com writes that the attention now shifts to how long Brantley will stay there. The Indians' preference was to avoid having this season count toward Brantley's arbitration-eligibility clock, so a slow start by Brantley and a speedy recovery by Branyan could result in a a quick change of plans.