CLEVELAND — Travis Hafner is ailing again.
The oft-injured designated hitter was sidelined for the third straight game Wednesday afternoon and is still nursing a sore back that has plagued him since his return from the paternity list.
It could be yet another trip to the disabled list for Hafner, who has played in just one game since being activated Saturday. According to manager Manny Acta, Hafner underwent an MRI on Wednesday, with the Indians still awaiting the results.
Hafner and injuries have gone hand in hand over the past five seasons. He was arguably as healthy as he has been in years to start this season, but missed close to two months following knee surgery in late May.
Playing in just 60 games this season — the final year of his long-term contract — Hafner has struggled to a .239 batting average with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.
A $13 million club option on Hafner for 2013 will not be exercised, with the Indians having to pay him a $2.75 million buyout as a result. General manager Chris Antonetti said the club would be interested in re-signing Hafner at a reduced rate, despite the DH entering this year having played in only 363 games over the past four seasons.
How I roll
Acta addressed criticism that he does not show enough emotion, something Indians fans have been on him for much of the season.
“That’s the way I lead,” he said. “I’m not going to change that just because some people think yelling and screaming and throwing things in front of the cameras is the way to go. I reflect calmness to my players. When I have to yell and scream, I do it behind closed doors.
“This is not college. You’re dealing with professionals, elite athletes that make more money than their boss. When we’re winning, I’m labeled as calm, cool and collected. When we’re losing, I’m not showing enough fire and passion.”
Acta said he did get vocal with his players during the 11-game losing streak, and it paid off with his team losing five more games.
The Indians wrap up the homestand with a four-game series against Boston that begins tonight at 7:05.
Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.56), while LHP Chris Seddon (0-0, 8.31) starts for the Indians on Friday (7:05 p.m.) against RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.48).
Zach McAllister (4-4, 3.60) goes for Cleveland on Saturday (6:05 p.m.), while RHP Corey Kluber starts in the series finale Sunday (1:05 p.m.). The Red Sox have yet to name starters for the final two games.
- Setup man Vinnie Pestano blanked the Twins in the eighth to extend his scoreless innings streak to 20. It is the longest streak by a Cleveland pitcher this year and the longest since Chris Perez’s 20 2/3 innings scoreless streak in 2009.
- Carlos Santana drove in a run for the fourth consecutive game and 21 RBIs over his last 21 games.
- The Indians allowed five-plus unearned runs in consecutive games Monday and Tuesday, marking the first time that has happened to a Cleveland team since 1944.
- Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM.