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Hafner ready to move past shoulder woes

Hafner ready to move past shoulder woes

CLEVELAND -- The Indians not only anticipate the return of Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore to their lineup next season, but also a healthier Travis Hafner.

Right shoulder woes have robbed Hafner of the power that once made him an elite slugger, but Pronk has authored a productive second half to his 2010 campaign. In 41 second-half games through Monday, the designated hitter has batted .326 with 15 doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs.

"I think he made some progress this year, according to what I heard about last year," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "We're going into Spring Training with the hope that he has no limitations. It will be huge, especially for guys like [Shin-Soo] Choo and Santana, to have that presence around them next year."

Hafner averaged 32 homers and 109 RBIs per season from 2004-07. He hasn't approached that level of production, though Acta still considers Pronk a viable middle-of-the-order threat.

The key, of course, is Hafner's health, which -- one disabled list stint notwithstanding -- has improved in '10.

"Last year he was unable to play more than three games in a row, and this year he started the season without restriction," Acta said. "We were just managing him to 5-6 games a week. He hurt his shoulder and went on the DL [in August], but after that he's been able to play 4-5 games a week, which is better than what he did last year.

"He was obviously expecting more production this year, but he's hit 29 doubles and 12 home runs. We've talked to Travis, and the hope for next year is he'll have had one more offseason under his belt on that shoulder."

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