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Cleveland Indians

Hafner to return tonight or Thursday

By Sheldon Ocker Published: September 18, 2012
   Travis Hafner might return to the lineup as early as tonight.
   “”Hopefully, we’ll get him this homestand,’’ manager Manny Acta said today. “”He’s continuing to simulate at-bats in batting practice.’’
   Hafner, 35, is in the last guaranteed season of his contract, but the Indians can exercise a $13 million option for 2013 if they intend to keep him. If they don’t, there is a $2.75 million buyout.
   Few followers of the team believe he will be asked to return next year after missing 374 games to injury since 2008. So why is the Tribe in a hurry to get him back with only two weeks left in the season?
 “”Regardless of who you are, you should play if you’re healthy,’’ Acta said. “”He also makes us a better club when he’s in the lineup.’’
  Acta said he didn’t know how much Hafner would play.
   “”It depends on what our medical staff recommends,’’ the manager said.

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