KANSAS CITY, Mo: Travis Hafner is not in the lineup tonight against the Royals, but that does not mean his shoulder is aching or feels fatigued again.
""We're playing him four or five times a week,'' manager Manny Acta said this afternoon. ""But he'll be off tonight, particularly with a left-handed pitcher going for them. After that, he'll play four games in a row, and all against righties.''
Acta will continue to treat Hafner carefully for the remainder of the season, but he does not expect the Indians' designated hitter's shoulder problems to continue into 2011, when Hafner will be counted on to play more than four or five days a week.
""At the beginning of the season he had no restrictions,'' Acta said. ""But I feel like the way we're doing it now will get him through the last month and a half of the year.''
As Fausto Carmona prepared for his start tonight, Acta lauded his overall performance this year.
""In my eyes, he's been tremendous,'' the manager said. ""We've had to struggle as a team, but if we had 10 or 15 more wins, he would have 14 or 15.''
Carmona has won 11 games, but in 10 of his starts (either no-decisions or losses), he has been supported with three or fewer runs.
Matt LaPorta heads into tonight's game in an 0-for-21 skid, indicating the trials and tribulations of being a young player still trying to find his way in the majors.
""He's getting caught in-between, and they're getting him with inside stuff,'' Acta said. ""He's also seeing a lot of breaking balls. This is an interesting time for him. He hasn't experienced failure in his career before. He's going to have to work through that up here.''