CLEVELAND -- Josh Barfield, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner all took big steps forward Wednesday, as the trio of injured Indians continued to make advances in their respective rehab programs. "We're getting close on all these guys," manager Eric Wedge said. Barfield (sprained left middle finger) and Martinez (right elbow inflammation and sore left hamstring) both took batting practice with the team before Wednesday's game against the Orioles. Martinez also worked on his throwing earlier in the day, making throws to first base on practice bunts in full catcher's gear.
Barfield, who has been sidelined since June 12 -- just three days after he was called up from Triple-A Buffalo -- will begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Akron, where he will play at second base for three innings. Martinez, out since June 11, will head to Akron on Friday and bat as a designated hitter. He will return to Cleveland on Saturday for more throwing work and will return to Akron for a game Sunday. Wedge said that when Martinez returns, the 29-year-old will bounce around between catcher, first base and designated hitter. Hafner literally took some big steps forward Wednesday when he ran the bases before the game. "Did you hear it?" Wedge joked. Pronk, who has been on the disabled list since May 30 with a sore right shoulder, will take batting practice Thursday.
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.