Indians bench Hafner, who is batting .210 and in 7-for-51 slump
CLEVELAND -- Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, in a 7-for-51 slump, was out of the starting lineup for Wednesday night's game against Seattle.
Manager Eric Wedge was noncommittal about how long Hafner would be on the bench or if he would remain in the No. 3 spot in the batting order when he does return to the lineup.
"We're taking everything day by day," Wedge said. "We're going to give him a break and we'll move forward."
Hafner is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and is 2-for-16 in six games on the Indians' homestand. Overall, he's batting .210 with three homers and 16 RBIs and has only been reaching base at a .302 clip, more than 100 points down from his peak.
Hafner was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball from 2004-2006, averaging 34 home runs and 111 RBIs while hitting over .300 all three years. His numbers fell off last season when he batted .267 with 24 homers and 100 RBIs.
"We're very confident he's going to be the hitter we want him to be," Wedge said. "It's not a matter of if. It's when."
With nearly every hitter in a slump, Wedge has to juggle his lineup daily. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, in a 1-for-14 skid, also was on the bench Wednesday night. Ryan Garko, hitless in his last 23 at-bats, returned after not playing Tuesday night.
Garko was the designated hitter, with catcher Victor Martinez moving to first base while Kelly Shoppach was behind the plate. Asdrubal Cabrera moved from second base to shortstop and Jamey Carroll played second.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press