Lingering back injury forces Michael Brantley out of the Indians’ lineup again

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Indians left fielder Michael Brantley has been struggling with a back injury since early in spring training and he’s once again out of the lineup today.

Brantley played Opening Day, sat out two games, returned for one game Friday, and is now out of the lineup for a third straight game. He played 156 of 162 games last season while finishing third in the MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Victor Martinez.

In his absence the Indians have used Mike Aviles, Jerry Sands, and David Murphy in left field. Sands gets the start today against the White Sox.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.