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Cleveland Indians

Balky shoulder puts Hafner on DL

By Sheldon Published: April 29, 2009

Travis Hafner's surgically repaired right shoulder has again become an issue for the Indians.

Wednesday afternoon, Hafner was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will visit Birmingham, Ala., orthopedist James Andrews, probably on Monday. 

"Hafner is having some soreness and a little fatigue in the shoulder,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""We knew this could come up. It's not uncommon after surgery. We'll let it calm down. I don't think it's serious.''

Hafner lost virtually all of last season because of weakness in the shoulder and underwent surgery to clean out the area on Oct. 14.

Wedge was unclear whether Hafner informed the club of the injury, or staffers took note that the designated hitter's swing was out of whack.

"I noticed that his swing was different,'' the manager said, referring to inconsistencies from day to day. ""But we've been monitoring him for three or four days. He's been getting treatment.''

Hafner had been maintaining a routine of playing three to five days in row then taking one day off. But when Wedge kept him out of the lineup Sunday and Monday, nothing was said about the condition of Hafner's shoulder, which, indeed, might not have been the reason he was benched.

With Hafner sidelined for at least 15 days, Wedge and General Mark Shapiro will make at least one addition to the roster (Rich Rundles is here Wednesday night only). 

"Hafner being out changes the dynamic of our offensive scheme,'' Wedge said. ""We'll probably talk about multiple moves.''

Wedge explained that replacing Hafner will not be the only change discussed. The only name the manager mentioned was David Dellucci, who is batting .414 at Columbus, where he is on a rehabilitation assignment.

"At the very latest, David was going to be back here some time next week, anyway,'' Wedge said, adding that he wasn't confirming Dellucci will be called up in time for the first game of a trip that begins Friday in Detroit.

"We're considering others, too,'' the manager said. ""We want to look at everybody. We've got a lot of ability down there.''

With Tony Graffanino struggling at the plate (.130 average), Wedge and Shapiro might be thinking about calling up Josh Barfield, who was sent to Columbus to make room for Aaron Laffey two weeks ago. Barfield is batting .350 at Triple-A. 

And because top prospect Matt LaPorta is batting .368 with five home runs and 14 RBI at Columbus, his name undoubtedly will be part of any discussions. 

THE FIRST STEP -- The result of the surgery to repair Adam Miller's right middle finger is that he will undergo a second operation.

Dr. Tom Graham of the Curtis Hand Clinic in Baltimore performed surgery on Tuesday to repair the flexor pulley system on Miller's damaged finger. Pulleys are bindings that hold the tendon to the bone.

A second phase of the surgery will be performed about three months from now. In that procedure, Graham will reconstruct the flexor tendon. 

Recovery time is estimated at six to nine months from now, but there is no guarantee that Miller's pitching career will continue.

There is a possibility that scar tissue will form inside the finger and limit the range of motion and strength of the finger. If the scar tissue is removed successfully, Miller presumably can pitch again, but keeping the scar tissue from reforming is not a given.

TEMPORARY PASS -- Tribe brass summoned Rundles to Cleveland to help boster an overworked bullpen that was gasping for breath after the marathon 9-8 win over the Red Sox Tuesday night. 

With Hafner going on the DL, there was a roster opening and Rundles will get it, but not for long.

"We had Rundles come to town, but he'll probably only be here for one night,' Wedge said. ""He's been throwing well down there, and he's had some experience up here.''

The left-hander has made seven appearances in the Clippers' bullpen, giving up one earned run, three hits and three walks in six innings. He also has struck out seven.

With a day off today, the tired Tribe bullpen should be in good shape for the weekend series in Detroit, which means Rundles will head back to Columbus. Even when he does, the Indians will keep eight relievers, at least for a few days.

GET USED TO IT -- Mark DeRosa's comfort level as an American League player is more than becoming familiar with pitchers he hasn't faced. 

"The American League is different,'' the third baseman said. ""From a defensive standpoint, I don't know how many times (coach) Luis Rivera has had to move me back, because I'm thinking bunt. But in this league, nobody bunts.''

ABOUT THAT NIGHT -- At 4 hours, 19 minutes, Tuesday night's game was the longest nine-inning game ever at Progressive Field... It took 410 pitches to complete the game... The Tribe lineup was 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position...The umpires went through eight dozen baseballs in the first three innings, more than in most full games.

FARM FACTS -- Wes Hodges had three hits, and Wyatt Toregas had a two-run homer, as Columbus beat Toledo 5-3. Jeremy Sowers (1-1, 2.25 ERA) worked seven innings, allowing one run and five hits, while striking out six and walking two... Matt McBride, raising his average to .405, homered twice, singles and drove in four runs as Kinston beat Salem 7-2. Lonnie Chisenhall also homered and had two RBI. Ryan Morris (1-2, 3.38 ERA) gave up two unearned runs and three hits in six innings.

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