By C. Trent Rosecrans
So far this season, the Indians are a different team with designated hitter Travis Hafner in the lineup and getting four or five plate appearances a night. In the next week, we'll see how they are with Hafner making just one plate appearance per game.
Manager Manny Acta told MLB.com on Wednesday that Hafner will strictly serve as a pinch hitter during the team's nine-game tour of the National League.
Hafner went on the disabled list with a strained oblique, which he suffered May 18 during batting practice in Chicago. After his last game May 17, the Indians were 26-13 and led the American League Central by five games. When he was activated a month later, the Indians were 36-31, a game behind the Tigers.
Since June 17, the Indians are 4-2, and Hafner is hitting .294/.429/.706 with two homers and seven RBI in five games.
He has been used as a pinch hitter twice this season, walking once and striking out once.
Hafner hasn't used a fielding glove in a game since 2007, when he played 11 games at first base. In his career, he's started just 68 games in the field, 40 of those coming in his first season with the Indians (2003).For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.