CLEVELAND: There are times when a .250 batting average looks pretty good. For example, if belongs to one of the current roster of Indians, who woke up this morning with a team batting average of .242.
Travis Hafrner is batting .250 with two RBI for the past five games. That's nothing to brag about, but maybe it's an indication that he is coming out of his slump.
Manager Manny Acta has penciled Hafner's name in three different spots in the lineup, installing him in the fourth, fifth or sixth positions. Today he is fifth, but Tuesday night, he batted sixth for the second time this season. That seemed to raise some eyebrows among the media.
""I try to match guys up the best possible way to get the best lineup,'' Acta said. ""Nobody is being punished when he's dropped down.''
Hafner's lack of production has been something of a mystery. He appears to be fully recovered from 2008's shoulder surgery
that still was affecting his swing last year. His swing and his unerring batting eye appeared to be intact during spring training, but when the season began he struggled.
""I saw good signs in spring training and good signs the first 10 games of the season,'' Acta said. ""I know that he feels responsible for what we're going through, but he shouldn't. This is a team thing. He needs to relax and take one at-bat at a time, as cliche as that sounds. He needs to take the burden off his own shoulders.''