CLEVELAND -- Before Monday's game, in which Travis Hafner did not start for the fourth time in 10 games, Indians manager Eric Wedge said he was giving his designated hitter a mental break. After the 6-3 loss to the White Sox, Wedge revealed the truth that it was actually a physical break for the man known as Pronk. Hafner is still bothered by soreness in his right shoulder that has lingered since Spring Training. He and the team have often downplayed the seriousness of the injury, but the fact that it's dragged on this long could be a reason for some of Pronk's problems at the plate.
"The shoulder's bothered him on and off," Wedge said. "We're listing him as day to day." With Hafner unavailable, Wedge had to look elsewhere for pinch-hitting help Monday night, most notably when he sent Kelly Shoppach to the plate with two on and two out in the 10th. Hafner, whose shoulder is often iced up after games, is hitting just .217 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 46 games this season. He is currently in the midst of a 3-for-21 drought. Wedge once again made it a point to say the shoulder isn't a major concern. "It's hasn't been something [bothering Pronk] every day," Wedge said. "It's just flared up on him right now."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.