ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.: Travis Hafner will have to think about his contract situation for 2013 in 2½ months. But for now, he has other things on his mind.
“You can’t help but think about it here and there,” he said Wednesday. “But I’m pretty focused on each day and on winning games. If I started worrying about things like that, it would be a distraction, and that wouldn’t be very productive.”
Hafner is in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $57 million contract. The club can exercise a $13 million option on him or buy out the option for $2.75 million and say goodbye.
It’s safe to say that because of the team’s financial restrictions and the injuries that have cut deeply into Hafner’s productivity the past few years, the Tribe will not exercise the option. If the Indians determine they want to keep Hafner, they will try to do so at a much reduced salary.
Not surprisingly, Hafner has had no communication with the front office about his future.
“Once the season is over, we’ll probably sit down and talk,” he said. “But there’s really nothing to talk about, and I’m not even remotely focused on that now.”
In seven games since coming off the disabled list July 4 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Hafner has gone 3-for-25, with two of the hits being home runs.
“The All-Star break really helped my knee out,” said Hafner, who still feels some soreness. “I feel pretty good right now.”
He also thinks his swing is in order but doesn’t have much to show for it.
“The past couple of days I felt really good, but the results haven’t been there,” Hafner said. “I’ve gotten back to the same approach I had early in the season.”
When the season is interrupted by an injury, does a player have to start the process of getting his swing together from scratch?
“It helps if you already have a good foundation under you, by going through spring training,” Hafner said. “I’ve always felt that consistency at the plate for me comes from doing the same things every day. So if I miss games, it takes me time to get my rhythm back.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.