While a few of the position players who reported early to camp took part in batting practice Thursday morning, Michael Brantley stood at the edge of the weight room at the team's complex. The Indians outfielder peered out at the diamond, where teammates fed off BP fastballs.

Brantley is once again on the comeback trail, hoping to rejoin the regular spring schedule rather than working through a detailed program provided by the medical and training staff. Following surgery on his right ankle in October, Brantley is behind the pack this preseason and his availability for Opening Day is questionable.

"We want to make sure we're taking a longer view," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Thursday. "The thing we're most focused on is, 'How do we have the best version of Michael Brantley for as much of the season as possible?' If that's Opening Day, great. If it's not, that's fine, too.

"As we saw last year, when he's healthy, he's still a really good player. And we're looking forward to Michael contributing in that way for us whenever he's ready to go."

Brantley, who was limited to 90 games last year due to the ankle injury, is able to take part in long toss and do limited hitting activities inside the batting cage. The left fielder's running is limited to straight-ahead jogging for now.