Indians hope to have Hafner back in finale vs. AngelsJul 4, 2012 - 12:55 PM (Sports Network) - Like an M-80 going off in celebratory fashion to honor Independence Day, the Cleveland Indians are hoping the possible return of designated hitter Travis Hafner will have the same effect.
Hafner is expected to be activated off the disabled list in time for Wednesday's finale of a three-game series versus the LA Angels of Anaheim. He has been sidelined since late May with a right knee injury and is batting .242 with six homers and 23 RBI. Hafner has an on-base percentage of .380 and said he was feeling better prior to Tuesday's 9-5 win over the Angels.
Indians manager Manny Acta is probably thrilled about Hafner's progress, but will try not to rush things.
"It's a recovery day for him today," Acta told the club's website before last night's win. "There's a very good chance that he'll be activated tomorrow if he's OK."
Hafner didn't perform well in three rehab games with Triple-A Columbus, going 1-for-10. But it's all about timing and getting back to playing baseball when it comes to rehabilitation.
Cleveland won for the fourth time in six tries on Tuesday, as Shelley Duncan homered and Jose Lopez collected three hits, an RBI and a run scored. Jason Kipnis and Jack Hannahan both had two hits and drove in a run for the Indians, who are still two games behind Chicago for the AL Central lead. Zach McAllister held on for the win even though he gave up five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six innings.
"He was very effective with his fastball and never got scared out there," Acta said about McAllister. "He was really strong out there and we were able to back him up at the plate."
The Indians have been at or above .500 for 79 consecutive days and have not dipped below the mark since April 14 (3-4). They could get closer to falling back to .500 with Derek Lowe on the mound Wednesday and he is 1-5 with a 7.33 earned run average in his last eight starts. Lowe has not won since June 1 versus Minnesota and did not record a decision in Friday's 9-8 loss at Baltimore in which he allowed seven runs -- four earned -- in 5 1/3 innings.
Lowe is 7-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 16 starts this season and defeated the Angels back on April 29 in a 4-0 victory at Progressive Field. He tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings that day, improving to 7-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 31 career games (15 starts) against Anaheim.
Cleveland rebounded from Monday's 3-0 loss and will resume its seven-game homestand with four games versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Angels will close out a nine-game road trip (5-3) tonight and couldn't bail out Dan Haren again in Tuesday's loss. Haren allowed seven runs, six of which were earned, and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings for the loss. He has given up 26 runs over his last five starts, and is bothered by a back issue.
"We're going to get it looked at again when we get back home," said Haren of his ailing back. "It's not really enabling me to power the ball down in the zone. I've got to get something figured out here."
Young rookie All-Star Mike Trout hit a three-run homer and Albert Pujols drove in a run for the Angels, who are five games behind Texas for the AL West lead and will begin a four-game home series versus Baltimore on Thursday. The Halos are still a dominant 27-11 in their last 38 games.
Taking the mound for the Angels in the rubber match of this series will be Ervin Santana. Santana has split his last four decisions and did not factor in the outcome of a 7-5 setback at Toronto on Friday, as he was reached for five runs and seven hits in five innings of work.
Santana is 4-8 in 16 starts to go along with a 5.12 earned run average and hasn't had much success in his career against Cleveland. Santana countered Lowe in that 4-0 loss back in late April and suffered a hard-luck defeat, yielding a pair of runs through seven innings. The right-hander is only 1-7 with a 4.13 ERA in 12 career starts against the Tribe.
The Angels lost two of three meetings with Cleveland from April 27-29.
- LOS ANGELES: 3
Jul 4 7:03 PM
- Maicer Izturis singled to right scoring Mark Trumbo with one out. On the play, Erick Aybar advances to third. Runners on first and third and Bobby Wilson due up.
Angels 3, Indians 12 Top 6, 1 OutJul 4 6:10 PM
- Alberto Callaspo sacrifice fly out to center scored Kendrys Morales with one out. Runner on first and Erick Aybar due up.
Angels 2, Indians 12 Top 6, 1 OutJul 4 6:08 PM
- Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to center scoring Johnny Damon with two out. Runner on second and Jason Kipnis due up.
Angels 1, Indians 12 Bot 5, 2 OutsJul 4 6:00 PM
- Shin-Soo Choo grounded into a double play, second to short to first, scoring Jack Hannahan with two out. Lou Marson out at second. Johnny Damon advances to third. Runner on third and Asdrubal Cabrera due up.
Angels 1, Indians 11 Bot 5, 2 OutsJul 4 6:00 PM
- Lou Marson singled to right scoring Casey Kotchman with none out. On the play, Johnny Damon advances to second and Jack Hannahan advances to third. Bases loaded and Shin-Soo Choo due up.
Angels 1, Indians 10 Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 4 5:57 PM
- Casey Kotchman two-out, three-run Home Run (7) to right scored Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley. Jack Hannahan due up.
Angels 1, Indians 9 Bot 2, 2 OutsJul 4 5:02 PM
- Jason Kipnis singled to center scoring Shin-Soo Choo with one out. Runner on first and Travis Hafner due up.
Angels 1, Indians 6 Bot 2, 1 OutJul 4 4:50 PM
- Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to first scoring Lou Marson with one out. On the play, Shin-Soo Choo advances to third. Runner on third and Jason Kipnis due up.
Angels 1, Indians 5 Bot 2, 1 OutJul 4 4:49 PM
- Maicer Izturis grounded into a fielder's choice, second to short scoring Kendrys Morales with two out. Alberto Callaspo out at second. Mark Trumbo advances to third. Runners on first and third and Bobby Wilson due up.
Angels 1, Indians 3 Top 2, 2 OutsJul 4 4:38 PM
- Michael Brantley two-out, three-run Home Run (2) to right scored Jason Kipnis and Travis Hafner. Casey Kotchman due up.
Angels 0, Indians 3 Bot 1, 2 OutsJul 4 4:23 PM
- LOS ANGELES: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jul 4 4:06 PM
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- Angels non-tender Hanson, Williams Dec 3
- Report: A's to sign Kazmir to 2-year deal Dec 3
- Angels sign reliever Smith Nov 27
- Indians make it official with Murphy Nov 25
- Angels acquire Freese from Cardinals Nov 22
- Indians sign Zagurski to minor league deal Nov 22
- Report: Indians reach deal with OF Murphy Nov 20
- Francona, Hurdle named managers of the year Nov 12
- DiSarcina returns to Halos as third base coach Nov 5
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