Hafner expected to return during road trip

Hafner expected to return during road trip

CHICAGO -- Having a pair of players who can only serve as a designated hitter would typically present a problem for a team. For the Indians, it appears to be an ideal situation for this season's final few weeks.

On Thursday, Travis Hafner continued a running program at U.S. Cellular Field to test his recovering right foot. Barring any setbacks, Hafner is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list some time during Cleveland's current 10-day road trip.

When Hafner returns, he will share the DH duties with veteran Jim Thome.

"I think it helps both of them," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Jim is not going out there every day, and we're not anticipating running Hafner out there every day, either. It'll benefit us, because for sure we'll have one of the two guys in the lineup in just about every game."

Hafner did some light jogging in the outfield, marking his second straight day of "land-based" running drills. Prior to this portion of his rehab, the 34-year-old Hafner had been running in an anti-gravity treadmill that reduces the stress on a runner's legs and feet.

Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Hafner will continue to add more elements to his routine as he builds up to running the bases. Hafner has also been taking regular batting practice for the past few days. The expecation is that the DH will be able to come off the DL within the next week.

"I hope so," Hafner said. "It's really just day to day, but hopefully I'll be back some time during this trip."

Hafner, who has hit .281 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 82 games this season, landed on the DL on Aug. 22 with what Soloff has described as a strained tendon in the bottom of his foot. After coming off the DL, if Hafner still experiences discomfort while running, offseason surgery would be an option.