Hafner looks strong during BP session

Hafner looks strong during BP session

NEW YORK -- Travis Hafner stepped into the batter's box at Yankee Stadium early Friday afternoon and looked like his old self. The Indians designated hitter sprayed line drives around the stadium and peppered the right-field stands with a few blasts.

The session marked Hafner's first time taking regular batting practice since injuring his right oblique on May 18 in Chicago. The DH came away from three rounds feeling fine and itching to get back in the lineup for Cleveland.

"Everything was good," Hafner said. "There's no pain with it. Everything feels good. It's gotten better pretty much every day since I started hitting."

The current plan calls for Hafner to rest on Saturday before resuming regular BP sessions again on Sunday and Monday in New York. If everything goes well throughout those workouts, the Indians plan on sending the 33-year-old DH out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Hafner did not sound like a man wanting to take some hacks down on the farm.

"We'll talk about it and see what happens," Hafner said.

Manager Manny Acta said a Minor League rehab stint will be necessary.

"I absolutely think he'll need some games," said the manager. "He's been out for too long just to throw him out there."

Through 32 games for the Indians this season, Hafner hit .345 with five home runs, eight doubles and 22 RBIs. Along the way, he fashioned a .409 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage. Since Hafner went down, Cleveland has gone 8-13 with a .226 average as a team, scoring 3.2 runs per game.

Acta was encouraged by what he saw from Hafner on Friday.

"He swung the bat really good, man," Acta said. "It was very good to see. He was very effortless and right on time. He also ran the bases and looked good."