Travis Hafner's sore shoulder will cost him his third straight game tomorrow, Bisons manager Torey Lovullo said following Buffalo's 9-1 loss to Scranton tonight. Indians manager Eric Wedge said Monday that Hafner's latest setback was in fact "not a setback" and Lovullo predictably agreed ("I don’t think it really is, believe it or not")
You might say this is the latest example of the organization's institutional policy of being economical with the truth. But hey, we'll take their word on this one. When Hafner can't make it through an every-other-day program as the designated hitter, who's to say that's not progress?
Here's the problem: Hafner, who went down June 11 with weakness in his right rotator cuff, has felt soreness following batting practice and struggled with his endurance. The Indians said he feels strong in the first few innings before his shoulder tightens up late.
"He looks comfortable in BP and he’s swinging the bat very very well," Lovullo said. "His endurance by his own recongition is not where he wanted it to be, so we're just trying to build him back up a little bit."
If all goes well, Lovullo said Hafner will play Thursday afternoon against Scranton. But little, of course, is certain. Hafner is the team's great unknown going forward, and the Indians had hoped to see their one-time star back in Cleveland this season. But you have to wonder if it might just be best to shut him down, wait another few months and hope -- start praying, Tribe execs -- his shoulder approaches full strength again.
--- David Briggs