August 27, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
78°F

Indians notes: Hafner headed to DL

CLEVELAND — Like an annual rite to the summer, designated hitter Travis Hafner is headed to the disabled list.

A day after manager Manny Acta said Hafner was available off the bench, the team placed the oft-injured DH on the DL with inflammation in his right knee.

The club announced that Hafner will undergo arthroscopic surgery today that will sideline him for four to six weeks.

“I can’t sit here and tell you we’re better without him,” manager Manny Acta said of his cleanup hitter who is batting .242 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 39 games. “It really hurts our lineup. One guy can really stretch your lineup out. But, hey, we just can’t throw our arms up. We have to move on and get on with it and somebody needs to step up, or more guys in the lineup need to do their thing.”

Acta said unless the team looks for Hafner’s replacement at Triple-A Columbus, he will split the DH duties between Jose Lopez, Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon.

Matt LaPorta, who has produced well all year for Columbus — .304 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs in 44 games through Tuesday — could be an option. He is hitting just .228 in May, but .321 against left-handed pitchers on the year.

Russ Canzler, who was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay this offseason, is also a possible replacement. Last year’s International League (Triple-A) MVP, was batting .266 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 49 games through Tuesday. Canzler is hitting .257 in May and .246 against left-handers.

“Everybody on the Triple-A roster is an option, but first we have to make that decision,” Acta said.

It is the sixth straight year that Hafner has made at least one trip to the injured list.

To fill Hafner’s spot on the 25-man roster, Cleveland promoted left-hander Scott Barnes from Columbus, returning the bullpen to full strength (seven pitchers).

Barnes, acquired in a trade with San Francisco for Ryan Garko in 2009, has spent the entire year at Columbus, posting an 0-2 record and 3.81 ERA in 11 games (three starts). He got himself on the Indians’ radar with an impressive spring training performance this March.

The 24-year-old Barnes made his big league debut Wednesday, pitching a scoreless sixth inning despite walking one batter and hitting two.

 

Wounded Wahoos

Both Indians catchers Carlos Santana and Lou Marson remained on the shelf, as recent call-up Luke Carlin made his third straight start Wednesday.

Marson was expected to return to the lineup for the series finale against Kansas City, but missed his third straight game after receiving three stitches when he was hit in the face by a pitch Sunday. He is expected to undergo laser surgery today to remove excess skin from the inside of his mouth.

Santana (concussion symptoms) was cleared to begin cardiovascular activities Tuesday, but it appears unlikely that he will be activated from the seven-day DL on his eligibility date Saturday.

Santana, who has missed five straight games, still has to pass MLB concussion tests before returning to the field.

Push ’em back

Ubaldo Jimenez will get a lengthy break before making his next start Tuesday in the series opener at Detroit, thanks in large part to a left-side issue he experienced during his last outing in Chicago on Sunday.

“It gives us more time for him to work on the side,” Acta said. “Plus, we’re taking advantage of the (off time) and just giving him more days for his left side. It’s good. It’s not bothering him, but we felt it was an opportunity for us to do that.”

 

Steal away

The Indians have been successful in the stolen base department this year, ranking fifth in the American League through Tuesday with 39 in 51 attempts. The 76.5 percent success rate ranked sixth in the AL.

Cleveland has stolen 12 straight bases and have been successful in 21 of its last 22 attempts. Second baseman Jason Kipnis has stolen nine straight.

 

Next up

The Indians are off today, resuming the homestand with a three-game series against the Twins on Friday night (7:05).

Derek Lowe (6-3, 3.25 ERA) opens the set against Minnesota, while the Twins counter with RHP Carl Pavano (2-4, 4.56). Josh Tomlin (2-2, 4.99) starts for Cleveland on Saturday (7:15 p.m.) against RHP P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.96).

Justin Masterson (2-4, 5.14) goes for the Indians in the series finale Sunday (3:05 p.m.), opposing LHP Scott Diamond (3-1, 2.27).

 

Roundin’ third

It was just the fourth loss in 14 career starts at Progressive Field for right-hander Gomez. … Former Indians Carlos Baerga (1990-96, 1999) and Candy Maldonado (1990, 1993-94) will be in attendance this weekend. Baerga bobbleheads will be presented to the first 15,000 fans Sunday. … Friday, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM.

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.