DETROIT -- Designated hitter Travis Hafner is one step closer to rejoining the Tribe, as he began a rehab stint with the Double-A Akron Aeros on Tuesday.
Hafner, sidelined with a right oblique injury since May 18, has been taking batting practice with the Indians recently.
Hafner said on Monday that he would probably play three or four games in Akron.
In 32 games this season, Hafner was hitting .345 with a .549 slugging percentage. Getting him back would be a plus no matter what, but with the offense struggling over the past few weeks, Hafner's return could be just what the doctor ordered.
"It'll be good to get him back in the lineup," Jack Hannahan said. "He's a big part of this team. He's a guy that's going to drive runs in, and that's what we've been needing."
Without Hafner, the Indians have been able to put Grady Sizemore at DH, keeping his banged-up legs fresh. But there is no doubt that manager Manny Acta is ready to get Hafner back in at DH full-time.
"Once we get Hafner back, things are going to change again," Acta said.