CLEVELAND — The Indians finally have a diagnosis on ailing designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was out of the lineup for the third straight game Saturday.
Results from an MRI performed Friday revealed that Hafner has a strained tendon on the bottom of his right foot. He was originally sidelined with what the team called right ankle inflammation, sustaining the injury while sliding into home plate Wednesday.
The Indians still don’t think it is a disabled list situation, but Hafner was in a walking boot prior to the game and will wear it when he isn’t performing baseball activities.
“We’re optimistic that it will involve a short time period down,” said Cleveland’s head trainer Lonnie Soloff.
Hafner (.342, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 21 games) will be in the boot until Monday, when he is scheduled to be examined again.
In the meantime, because Hafner does not play the field, both Soloff and manager Manny Acta said the DH was available to pinch hit.
“He’s available off the bench, so beware, the Pronk can be there any time,” Acta said. “All he has to do is take off his boot.”
In other injury news:
(bullet) Starting pitcher Mitch Talbot (strained right elbow) threw out of the bullpen Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list. He is expected to throw a second bullpen session with the Indians on the road in Oakland on Tuesday.
(bullet) Talbot’s rotation mate, right-hander Carlos Carrasco (strained right elbow), played catch from 75 feet Saturday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday. The Indians are hopeful that Carrasco can begin a minor league rehab assignment sometime next week.
The Indians officially promoted Saturday’s starting pitcher, right-hander Alex White, optioning reliever Frank Herrmann back to Triple-A Columbus.
The Indians also cleared a spot on their 40-man roster for White, designating Clippers reliever Jess Todd for assignment.
Herrmann, who began the season in Cleveland’s bullpen, did not appear in a game during his latest stint on the big league level.
Told you so
Acta drew fire for leaving a struggling Carlos Santana in the cleanup spot, but he was vindicated a bit when the catcher hit a walk-off grand slam Friday night in a 9-5 win over the Tigers.
“I’m not here to prove anybody wrong. I respect everybody’s opinion,” Acta said. “I don’t know when the real estate market is going to come back, but I do know Carlos is going to hit.”
Santana, who entered Saturday batting .190 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games, said he got the ball from his first career grand slam, giving the fan who retrieved it an autographed baseball and bat.
Former Indians catcher Victor Martinez is back at Progressive Field, but he is on the disabled list with a strained right groin and will not play in the series for Detroit.
Martinez will begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday and has been keeping tabs on the fast start from Cleveland, where he spent the first eight years of his career.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not really surprised,” Martinez said. “They’ve got a lot of young guys but they got talent. Good things happen when you have talent and put everything together.
“It’s too bad that I’m in the same division, but they’re going to get better and better.”
Catcher Luke Carlin, a candidate to win Cleveland’s backup catcher job this spring, went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs in Columbus’ 8-5 victory over Gwinnett. Carlin, acquired in a trade with the Pirates last year, entered Saturday batting .341 with two homers and eight RBIs in 15 games. … Class A Lake County shortstop Tyler Cannon went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Captains’ 5-3 loss to South Bend on Friday. Cannon, a 12th-round draft pick last year, entered Saturday batting .359 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 19 games.
The Indians (17-8) entered Saturday tied with the Phillies for the best record in baseball. … The Indians honored longtime drummer John Adams prior to the game. Adams attended his 3,00th game Tuesday. … Today, 1:05, Channel 3/STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Masterson (5-0, 2.18) vs. Coke (1-4, 4.88).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.