Indians gauging Hafner's interest in Minor League job

Slugger may become part-time hitting coach

Indians gauging Hafner's interest in Minor League job

SAN DIEGO -- The Indians gave Travis Hafner a chance to coach in the Arizona instructional league this fall and came away impressed. Cleveland is now open to hiring the former slugger as a part-time Minor League hitting coach.

On Tuesday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti praised Hafner's first stint as a coach in the Tribe's system. Antonetti said he met with Cleveland's former designated hitter earlier this winter to discuss his plans for the future.

"If Travis is interested in doing it, we think he has a lot to offer an organization," Antonetti said. "He's as passionate about hitting specifically as anybody we've encountered. To the extent we can, we'll tap into him as a resource. Now, again, he has to balance how much time he wants to commit to it and how much involvement he wants to have, but he's a great resource.

"We've stayed in touch with him over the course of the winter. We went out to lunch with him and just continued the dialogue about what's the next chapter of his professional career."

The Indians have two vacancies in their Minor League system for hitting coordinator jobs, but it is believed that Hafner would be brought into the fold for a part-time role.

The 37-year-old Hafner spent 10 of his 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Indians, with his final season in the big leagues coming in 2013. In 1,183 career games, Hafner posted a .273/.376/.498 slash line with 213 home runs, 598 walks and 619 runs scored in stints with the Indians, Rangers and Yankees.

Antonetti said he feels Hafner would be an asset for young hitters.

"He had a great time in instructional league," Antonetti said. "The staff and players that were around him felt that he had a lot to offer, too. He has an incredible understanding of hitting in general. When he was healthy, that's what made him so effective."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.