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Right shoulder bothering Hafner

Right shoulder bothering Hafner

CLEVELAND -- In a perfect world, manager Eric Wedge could point to Travis Hafner's right shoulder irritation and blame it for his designated hitter's ongoing offensive woes.

"I don't think it's that easy," Wedge said. "I'd love it if it was, but I doubt that's all there is to it."

But there was enough to the shoulder trouble to keep Hafner out of the lineup for a second straight day Tuesday. And Wedge hinted that Pronk would be absent for Wednesday's series finale with the White Sox, as well.

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If the shoulder is still a concern after Thursday's off-day, Hafner could be headed to the disabled list.

"We're trying to take it day by day," Wedge said. "[The shoulder] hasn't been a big issue, but it's flared up on him recently."

The shoulder has bothered Hafner since the tail end of Spring Training and was cited by Wedge as the reason for Pronk's absence from the lineup April 18 in Minnesota. Other than that, Hafner and Wedge have both insisted that physical health hasn't been the cause of the slugger's season-long funk in which he has hit just .217 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 46 games.

Hafner has been out of the lineup five out of the last 11 games. The Indians didn't play him at first base at all in the three-game set in Cincinnati because of concerns about his arthritic right elbow.

"He's had multiple issues at times, physically," Wedge said of Hafner. "We try to address them as they come."

Hafner wasn't available to talk to reporters about this latest development, though a club spokesman said Pronk would speak before Wednesday's game.

Wedge was asked if the shoulder bothered Hafner, who was signed to a four-year, $57 million contract extension last summer, at all before this year.

"It didn't start this year," Wedge said. "The majority of the time, he's fine. Just every now and then, it flares up. It's no different than any other player. He's just trying to do some maintenance with it."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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