Hafner misses second straight game with sore right shoulder

Updated: May 27, 2008, 7:53 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner was on the bench for the second straight game Tuesday night because of a sore right shoulder and could be headed for the disabled list.

Travis Hafner

Hafner

Designated Hitter
Cleveland Indians

Profile

2008 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
46 4 22 19 .326 .217

"I'm really trying to take it day by day, but if it's something that lingers on we're going to have to think about putting him on the DL," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "I don't want to jump right into that yet."

Wedge said Hafner, mired in a season-long slump, won't play Wednesday afternoon against Chicago. The Indians are off on Thursday.

"We'll take a real good look at this on Friday," Wedge said. "I don't think it's anything too serious, but if this drags on, obviously, we're going to have to consider [disabling him]."

Prior to Monday night's game, Wedge said Hafner was getting a day off as a mental break. When Hafner wasn't used to pinch-hit in the Indians' 12-inning loss, Wedge said he was unavailable because his shoulder was bothering him.

Hafner, who has been battling a sore elbow for most of his career, frequently has his shoulder wrapped in ice following games. The shoulder bothered him in spring training, but any talk of a lingering injury has been downplayed until now.

"It's something that hasn't been a big issue, but it flared up on him recently," Wedge said. "I noticed he was feeling it [during the weekend]."

Hafner has struggled all season, a major reason why the Indians are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball. He's batting .217 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 46 games. He's in a 10-for-42 slump in his last 15 games and is hitting .189 (20-for-106) with two homers and 12 RBIs in his last 33 games.

Hafner was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball from 2004-06, when he averaged .308 with 34 homers and 111 RBIs in those three season. His best season was 2006, when he batted .308 with 42 home runs and 117 RBIs. Hafner tied the major league single-season record with six grand slams. He missed the final 29 games of that season because of a broken right hand after being hit by a pitch from Texas' C.J. Wilson on Sept. 1.

Hafner's production fell off last season when he batted .267 with 24 homers and 100 RBIs, but there was no indication the dropoff he's had this season was coming.

Hafner signed a four-year, $57 million contract extension through 2012 last July. He's making $8.05 million this season. Hafner will receive $11.5 million in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and $13 million apiece in 2011 and 2012. The Indians have a $13 million option for 2013 with a $2.75 million buyout.

Hafner could be replaced on the roster by outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, whose rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo ends early next week. Choo had elbow surgery last September.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press