CHICAGO -- A variety of issues forced the Indians to play three men short on Thursday night.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner remains sidelined with soreness in his right side and outfielder Travis Buck was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup due to an issue with his left big toe. Complicating matters was the fact that second baseman Orlando Cabrera was away from the team to become a U.S. citizen.
"It's part of the game, part of the season," Indians manager Manny Acta said of the missing players. "Every team goes through it. We're just going to have to continue to battle and go with what we have."
Under the circumstances, the Indians recalled infielder Luis Valbuena from Triple-A Columbus prior to Thursday's 8-2 loss against the White Sox to help the Tribe's short-handed bench. To clear room on the roster, Cleveland designated reliever Justin Germano for assignment.
The Indians -- already without center fielder Grady Sizemore, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee injury -- are hoping Hafner and Buck are only out temporarily.
Hafner, who is hitting .345 with five homers and 22 RBIs through 32 games, developed what Acta described as "rib soreness" while swinging a bat during pregame batting practice on Wednesday. The manager noted that Hafner would likely undergo an MRI exam and be re-evaluated on Friday in Cleveland.
"Hafner is better today," Acta said on Thursday. "He tested a lot better this morning with [head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff]. Then tomorrow, we're going back home. They're probably going to run some tests on him and we'll go from there."
Acta said he was "not going to go there" when asked if Hafner was a candidate for the disabled list.
As for Buck, who was recalled from Triple-A on Monday to replace Sizemore on the roster, Acta said the outfielder has dealt with a turf toe issue for some time. Buck was initially in Thursday's lineup as a DH, but the injury flared up again, forcing Acta to replace him with Shelley Duncan.
"He's got a turf toe that has been bothering him," Acta said of Buck. "It acted up today and we took him out of the lineup. [He's sidelined] just today."