November 28, 2014

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Indians notes: Hafner set to return; Raffy Perez shut down

CLEVELAND — Manager Manny Acta had good and bad news for reporters Tuesday.

Designated hitter Travis Hafner (lower back) is expected to return sometime during the current homestand, but relief pitcher Rafael Perez (strained left lat) will not pitch again this year.

Acta said Perez, who has been sidelined since April 26, experienced another rehab setback with his ailing left shoulder. The left-hander had a previous rehab assignment scrapped Aug. 11 after injuring his ankle.

Perez, 29, pitched in only eight games for the Indians this year after making 70 or more appearances in each of the past two seasons.

“It didn’t help us,” Acta said of the loss of Perez. “He’s been so reliable the last two years. He’s been a steady veteran guy out of the pen.”

Acta did not say when Hafner would be activated, but the DH appears to be on the verge. He has been taking batting practice and running the bases.

The manager was asked why the Indians would activate Hafner this late in the season and this far out of the race.

“If you’re fine, you should play,” Acta said. “Obviously, we’re a much better team with him in the lineup.”

Hafner has played in 60 games this season, hitting .239 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. The Indians are not expected to exercise a $13 million option on Hafner next season, but will have to pay him a $2.75 million buyout as a result.

Perez avoided arbitration to sign a one-year contract worth $2 million this season. He is still under Cleveland’s control in 2013.

In other injury news:

(bullet) Right-hander Roberto Hernandez (ankle) threw a bullpen session and ran in the outfield afterwards. He will be re-evaluated over the next few days.

(bullet) Jason Donald (right hand) played catch and was available off the bench.

 

Mr. Rogers

With a quietly effective stint in Cleveland, right-hander Esmil Rogers has worked his way into the picture in the Indians’ bullpen next season.

The 27-year-old Dominican Republic native was acquired in a trade from the Rockies in June for $150,000, and it’s paid off handsomely for the Indians, with Rogers entering Tuesday owning a 2-1 record and 2.54 ERA in 37 games since his arrival.

“We feel very good about his ability to pitch in the middle or late in the game,” Acta said. “He’s got an arm. We feel we have a good piece.”

He’s back

Team president Mark Shapiro returned to Twitter following an extended hiatus, addressing Indians fans and taking some of their questions Tuesday.

Shapiro tweeted to fans: “We’re as disappointed in this season as you are and can’t thank you enough for the dedication you show every day toward our team. … We are lucky to have fans with your passion and are working tirelessly to bring you that championship you deserve.”

 

Kip-ness this

Second baseman Jason Kipnis is the Indians’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award — presented annually to a player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

One player from all 30 MLB teams is nominated, with a national winner chosen from that pool.

 

Roundin’ third

Carlos Santana is the first Cleveland player to record triples in consecutive games since Kenny Lofton in 2007, and the first to do it at Jacobs/Progressive Field since Roberto Alomar in 2001. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. McAllister (5-7, 4.15) vs. Hendriks (0-7, 6.14).

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.