Hafner could return at start of second half

Hafner could return at start of second half

Hafner could return at start of second half
CLEVELAND -- It took just a half-hour to repair the damage within Travis Hafner's ailing right knee on Thursday. It will now be at least a month before the Indians have their veteran designated hitter in the lineup again.

"We are going to miss the big guy," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Wednesday. "He's a presence in our lineup."

Hafner underwent a right medial meniscectomy at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday's team off-day. The 30-minute procedure was performed by Dr. Rick Parker and Dr. Mark Schicendantz, and the Indians indicated on Wednesday that the expected recovery time remains 4-6 weeks.

Cleveland placed Hafner, who will turn 35 on Sunday, on the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the Royals. It is possible that the DH could return before the end of June, but the six-week mark aligns with the July 9-12 All-Star break. That being the case, there is a chance Hafner is held out until the start of the second half.

Through 39 games this season, Hafner has hit .242 with six home runs, six doubles and 23 RBIs for Cleveland. After hitting .357 with a 1.081 on-base plus slugging percentage over his first 12 games of the season, Hafner posted a .189 average with a .693 OPS over his next 27 games prior to the injury.

Hafner is under contract for $13 million this season and would become a free agent this winter if the Indians decline his club option, as anticipated. Hafner would be owed a $2.75 million buyout under that scenario.

This marks the sixth stint on the disabled list for Hafner over the course of the past five seasons. Hafner has previously been shelved due to right shoulder issues (2008, '09 and '10), as well as right oblique and right foot injuries ('11).

Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff did not believe this latest setback would have any lasting effects.

"It won't have any long-term consequences," Soloff said on Wednesday.