CLEVELAND -- The timetable for Travis Hafner's return from his right oblique injury remains unclear, but the Indians' veteran designated hitter is at least inching toward resuming baseball activities.
On Thursday, Hafner was scheduled to begin some plyometrics, according to manager Manny Acta. If that went well, Hafner was going to be permitted to make a trip to the bat rack on Friday.
"He's going to be introduced to a bat tomorrow," Acta said on Thursday. "'Nice to meet you. My name is Travis Hafner.' Then he's going to start doing dry swings."
Dry swings eventually lead to hitting baseballs off a tee. Regular batting-practice activities are next in the progression, barring any setbacks. It seems clear that -- after missing the past two weeks with no established return date -- Hafner will require a Minor League rehab stint before rejoining Cleveland.
On May 18, Hafner injured his oblique on a swing during the third round of pregame batting practice in Chicago. At the time of his injury, Hafner was hitting .345 with five home runs, 22 RBIs and a .409 on-base percentage in 32 games this season.
The initial estimation by the Indians called for Hafner to miss at least three or four weeks. From June 24-July 3, Cleveland will play nine straight games in National League ballparks, meaning they will be not be able to use a DH. On Wednesday, Acta did not rule out having Hafner return before that stretch.
That said, Acta is not about to guess when Hafner might be back.
"We have to go day by day with that," Acta said. "You never know when you're going to have a setback. I really don't want to give you a date. I just can't."