DETROIT -- While a possibility still exists that Victor Martinez will return to the Indians before rosters expand on Sept. 1, you can strike Travis Hafner from such consideration. Hafner, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo, is still feeling soreness in his right shoulder that has kept him on the disabled list since May 30. He was going to be held out of the Bisons' lineup on Monday and Tuesday and will be reevaluated mid-week. Manager Eric Wedge said Hafner's soreness is not considered a setback.
"He's moving forward and getting better," Wedge said, "but we may need to run him through this week and see how it plays out. He's feeling good early in the game. He needs to feel better later in the game." Pronk has played in four games at Buffalo, batting .308 (4-for-13) with two doubles and three RBIs. Wedge said Hafner needs to get back in the flow of having an at-bat, resting, then taking his next turn in the order a couple innings later. Hafner will have until Sept. 2, when Buffalo's season ends, to get back in that flow. "He's building up," Wedge said. "It's just the repetition. He didn't swing a bat for a long time. He definitely feels better than he did before, so that's a good thing." By all accounts, Martinez is feeling pretty good after having surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in mid-June. He also has reportedly gotten past the left hamstring injury he suffered on Opening Day and battled through for more than two months. In four games for Buffalo, Martinez is batting .250 (3-for-12) with a double and two RBIs. He was scheduled to play a full game at catcher on Tuesday and a full game at DH on Wednesday. "We want to see how he handles those two days back to back," Wedge said. "I want to make sure he's all right, because, obviously, we'd have to make a move to get him up here prior to September. I'm respectful of what that's all about." Physically, Josh Barfield, coming back from surgery on his left middle finger in mid-June, would probably be ready to rejoin the Indians before September. But if he did, Barfield would have nothing more than a bench role, given that Asdrubal Cabrera has once again taken over the second base duties. So expect Barfield to remain with the Bisons until the call-ups. "I want to get him reps," Wedge said of Barfield, who is batting .214 (3-for-14) in five games with Buffalo. Hafner, Martinez and Barfield will be the bulk of the Indians' September call-ups. Without naming names, Wedge said the Tribe will probably also call up a few other players, most likely pitchers, to help out in the home stretch of the season. Top prospect Matt LaPorta, who returned from the U.S. Olympic team and reported to Double-A Akron on Monday, will not be joining the Indians this year.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.