Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner could return to the lineup before Friday.
Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reported Tuesday that Hafner — who went to the disabled list for the second time this season on Aug. 6, this time with a herniated disc in his back — could return before the beginning of the Indians' final road trip of the season.
Indians manager Manny Acta said Hafner has been in the batting cage simulating at bats and is gearing up in hopes of returning before the Indians leave Friday to play three games on the road against the Kansas City Royals and three games at the Chicago White Sox in the team's final road trip of the year.
From Hoynes' article:
When asked what could be accomplished by bringing Hafner back with just 15 games left, Acta said, "If you're [healthy], you should play, regardless of who you are. The season is not over. We're obviously a better ballclub when he's in our lineup and producing."
Hafner has only appeared in 60 games so far this season, and it's guaranteed he'll appear in less than 100 games for the fourth time in the last five years. In 242 plate appearances, his triple-slash line is .239/.355/.453. Hafner made $13 million this season and has a $13 million team option for next season that the Indians can buy out for $2.75 million. Hoynes said the Indians will not pick up the option.
First pitch between the Indians and the Minnesota Twins at 7:05 ET Wednesday.