NEW YORK: General Manager Chris Antonetti thinks the Indians will improve as the season progresses.

“We’re competitive,” he said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. “We’re just not playing our best baseball. We still have a lot of potential to play better.”


“In some cases, it’s track record,” he said. “In others, it’s potential.”

That doesn’t mean a trade or a player signing is not forthcoming.

“We’re looking internally and externally,” he said. “There are a couple of guys who are playing well [in Columbus] who might help us, and we’re investigating the trade market.”

Antonetti named Matt LaPorta, Trevor Crowe, Jason Donald and Russ Canzler as potential call-ups from Triple-A.

“We’re not making nine trades or calling up nine players from Columbus,” he said. “That’s not the way it works. I believe in the guys we have here. I think this roster has a lot of talent, enough to stay competitive in the division race.”

HAFNER OFF TO REHAB — Travis Hafner (arthroscopic knee surgery) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus tonight. It’s uncertain how many at-bats the designated hitter will have to accumulate before he is activated from the disabled list, but he could rejoin the team after the current trip is over on Sunday.

BULLPEN SESSION A WINNER — Carlos Carrasco threw a two-part bullpen session Tuesday, delivering 30 pitches in each, before heading back to Goodyear, Ariz., to continue his recovery from elbow reconstruction surgery in March.

“I threw a few change-ups from flat ground, too,” Carrasco said. “That was the first time. Everything felt good. I was throwing at about 65 percent, nice and easy.”

Manager Manny Acta watched and said, “He was very upbeat. We told him he has to be patient. We’re looking to see him next year.”

BIG GUNS ASSISTING — The Tribe enlisted the aid of Ohio’s two U.S. senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, in trying to persuade the State Department to grant a work permit for Roberto Hernandez, the former Fausto Carmona.

“We asked both Brown and Portman to help us,” Antonetti said. “Other than that, there’s nothing else for us to do.”

The club keeps track of Hernandez’s throwing sessions but has no idea when he will be cleared to come back to the United States.

“He’s been throwing 50-65 pitches at our Dominican Academy,” Antonetti said. “And we’ll work that up to 70-75. We also get video of him so we can watch his mechanics.”

AWARD WINNER — The Indians have named Columbus outfielder/infielder Canzler the organization’s Minor League Player of the Week for batting .346 with one double, two home runs and seven RBI. For the season, Canzler is batting .274 with 16 doubles, nine homers and 38 RBI in 266 at-bats.

FARM FACTS — Canzler hit his ninth home run of the season and doubled, driving in two runs, as Columbus defeated Lehigh Valley 7-3. Crowe doubled and drove in one run, and Corey Kluber (7-6, 3.55 ERA) gave up three runs and seven hits in 7? innings. ... Michael Goodnight (2-8, 4.50 ERA) gave up one run and nine hits in seven innings, striking out seven, in Carolina’s 1-0 loss to Frederick in Class A. ... Alex Monsalve got two hits and two RBI in Lake County’s 8-3 win over Dayton in Class A ... Luis DeJesus gave up one run and three hits, walking none and striking out eight in six innings, but Mahoning Valley lost 3-2 to Williamsport in Class A. ... Anthony Santander had two hits and two RBI as the Arizona League Indians lost to the Cubs 6-4.

— Sheldon Ocker