CLEVELAND — Travis Hafner is coming soon to a park in your area.
Indians manager Manny Acta said Monday that he anticipated Hafner leaving the disabled list sometime during the current homestand, which began Monday night with a three-game series against the Angels.
Hafner, who has been on the injured list since May 24 following right knee surgery, played in his third rehab game for Triple-A Columbus on Monday.
“It’s a matter of how he feels,” Acta said of Hafner, who is batting .242 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 39 games. “It’s a good homestand with a bunch of right-handers that we are going to be seeing, but still, it’s going to come down to how he feels.”
- Catcher Carlos Santana (rib cage/back soreness) returned to the lineup after a four-game absence. He entered Monday batting .162 (11-for-68) over his last 20 games, breaking an 0-for-10 skid with a single in his first at-bat.
- Grady Sizemore (lower back surgery) took batting practice but has yet to begin running. The Indians are still optimistic Sizemore will return sometime after the All-Star break.
Even without a number of their weapons, the Indians have begun to swing the bats better, entering Monday having scored 32 runs in a four-game series against Baltimore.
“June was a month where we took a step back on quality at-bats,” Acta said. “You’re always going to have some ups and downs. It was good to see the guys come back firing on all cylinders.”
Second baseman Jason Kipnis isn’t exactly taking his non-selection to the All-Star Game in stride.
While wearing an “I play for the American League” T-shirt in the clubhouse, Kipnis declined to discuss the perceived All-Star snub, telling reporters, “I’m not going to go there.”
After it was announced Sunday night that he would not join closer Chris Perez and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in Kansas City, Kipnis tweeted: “A lot of things I want to say… But just gonna limit it to wishing CP and Cabby the best! Have been studs the whole year! #welldeserved.”
Kipnis, who entered Monday batting .275 with 11 homers and a team-leading 47 RBIs, lost out to American League starter Robinson Cano (Yankees) and Texas’ Ian Kinsler. Cano was hitting .310 with 20 homers and 46 RBIs through Sunday, while Kinsler, who was chosen by players, was at .276 with nine homers and 40 RBIs.
“I wasn’t completely surprised,” Acta said of the Kipnis omission. “The American League has some outstanding second basemen. He has the numbers to be in the All-Star Game, but Cano and Kinsler also have the numbers to be in the All-Star Game.
“We let him know, he’s our All-Star in our hearts. He’s going to have an opportunity again because he’s going to be good for years to come.”
Acta mentioned setup man Vinnie Pestano (3-0, 1.97 ERA) as another Indian worthy of All-Star consideration.
“You get to pick five starters and three relievers. Usually people go for the three top closers,” Acta said. “That’s how guys like Vinnie fall through the cracks. He pitched like an All-Star, too, but you can go to 29 other press conferences right now and the other managers will be complaining about it.”
Acta is fine with the All-Star selection process, but not with the reward for winning the game.
“I don’t think that that game should dictate home-field advantage (in the World Series), myself,” he said.
MLB and the Players Union agreed on the home-field advantage plan after a tie in the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee.