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08/06/08 1:12 PM ET

Hafner, Barfield working their way back

Injured Indians taking strides toward return to team

ST. PETERSBURG -- On the field Wednesday at Tropicana Field, Indians manager Eric Wedge could watch one core player, Victor Martinez, take part in a full workout day as part of his return from elbow surgery.

On his computer, Wedge could watch another core player, Travis Hafner, take swings off a tee as part of his return from right shoulder weakness. The video was taken Wednesday morning and e-mailed to Wedge almost instantaneously.

Martinez is much, much closer to a return than Hafner, but Hafner appears to be making his first significant strides toward a return to action since he was placed on the disabled list May 30. On Thursday's off-day, head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff will be in Cleveland to perform the latest strength test on Hafner's shoulder to see how it's coming along, and hitting coach Derek Shelton will be at Progressive Field to throw soft toss to Hafner.

"That's a significant step," Wedge said.

Second baseman Josh Barfield, who had surgery to repair a tendon on the middle finger of his left hand in mid-June, has also taken significant steps toward a return to action. Barfield, like Martinez, began running the bases and taking batting practice this week. He could be ready to go out on a rehab assignment as early as this weekend.

"I'm really close now," Barfield said. "My legs feel strong, because I've been able to lift a lot more. I've definitely made the most of this time off."

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