Indians reportedly sign Michael Brantley to multi-year contract

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

STAFF AND WIRE REPORT

Michael Brantley did anything and everything for the Indians last season. His versatility and consistency has been rewarded.

Brantley has agreed to long-term contract with the Indians, a person familiar with the deal told the AP on Tuesday. Cleveland's most consistent player in 2013, Brantley will sign a four-year, $25 million deal once he passes a physical, says the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract can't be finalized until he undergoes the medical examination.

The Indians are reporting to spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., this week, and it appears they'll open camp by announcing their commitment to Brantley.

The deal was first reported by Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Brantley moved from center field to left last spring when the Indians signed free agent Michael Bourn. The switch didn't rattle Brantley, who batted .284 with 10 homers and 73 RBI in 151 games. Manager Terry Francona used Brantley throughout his lineup -- he batted everywhere but ninth -- and he excelled in the field by not making an error and recording 11 assists.

The Indians were scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing with Brantley on Feb. 17.

Brantley's new deal locks him up through the 2017 season and the club has an $11 million option for 2018.

He was at his best late last season, batting .345 with 14 RBIs in September to lead the Indians' push toward a wild-card playoff spot.

Brantley began his career with Cleveland as "the player to be named" in the blockbuster deal that sent pitcher CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008.

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT

Baseball season is officially here. Ignore the snow outside your windows.

The Cleveland Indians' pitchers and catchers officially reported to Goodyear, Ariz., on Tuesday to open spring training.

Position players will report on Saturday.

In total, the Tribe welcomed 31 pitchers and seven catchers to Tuesday's first workouts.

Spring training will last seven weeks, then the Indians will open the 2014 season on March 31 in Oakland against the Athletics.

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