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04/29/09 6:40 PM ET
Sore shoulder sends Pronk to DL
Tribe DH to visit doctor for offseason surgery follow-up
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The troublesome right shoulder that cost Travis Hafner half of the 2008 season is not entirely a thing of the past. Just 3 1/2 weeks into his regular-season return from arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder, Pronk landed on the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday's game against the Red Sox. Hafner was originally in manager Eric Wedge's starting lineup, but was yanked about 3 1/2 hours before the first pitch. The Indians said the 31-year-old Hafner is battling soreness and fatigue in the shoulder. Hafner is expected to visit Dr. James Andrews -- who performed the surgery on the shoulder in October in Birmingham, Ala. -- early next week. "We don't think it's anything serious," Wedge said. "Hopefully it's just a two-week thing." Left-handed reliever Rich Rundles was promoted from Triple-A Columbus to take Hafner's 25-man roster spot, but that is likely just a temporary move in the wake of the burden placed on the 'pen by Anthony Reyes' two-inning start against the Red Sox on Tuesday. The Indians are expected to make another roster move -- or perhaps multiple moves -- in advance of the weekend series in Detroit to bring in a position player. Veteran outfielder David Dellucci, who is on the DL with a strained left calf and in the midst of a rehab assignment at Columbus, will get consideration for the callup. Top outfield prospect Matt LaPorta, who has hit .368 with five homers and 14 RBIs in the early going with the Clippers, is also in the mix of candidates, but Wedge made it clear that's a long list. "I want to look at everything," Wedge said. "I'm considering everybody right now. We've got a lot of ability down there. We need to spend some time thinking it through." Wedge said he will have a conversation with Dellucci, whose rehab stint comes to an end on May 10, to gauge his readiness to return. The Indians are facing three right-handed starters in Detroit, so the left-handed-hitting Dellucci at least fits the bill in that regard. As for Hafner, he was getting treatment in the training room and was not available to talk to reporters. Wedge said the soreness had been bothering Pronk, who was out of the lineup Sunday and Monday, for three or four days. "I've been noticing it in his swing," Wedge said. "We just want to try to nip it in the bud and not let it go too far. [Hafner's swing] is not quite the same thing as you normally see when he's healthy, feeling good and snapping it through." For the better part of his first 17 games this season, Hafner had that swing. He was batting .270 with five doubles, four homers, eight RBIs and a .910 OPS, and the Indians were encouraged by the strides he made late in Spring Training and early in April, with regard to bat speed and plate discipline. "One thing we all should feel good about is it's still in there," Wedge said. "Unfortunately for him and unfairly to him, there were questions about it [going into the season]. But he's proven it's in there. He hasn't even been locked in, and he still did a pretty good job for us in the short term." The Indians believe this will be a short-term stay on the DL for Pronk, but they felt similarly when he was shelved on May 30 of last year. Hafner's shoulder didn't respond well to a rest and rehab program aimed at getting him back by season's end. When he returned to the club in September, the shoulder was still giving him problems, and it became clear that surgery was unavoidable. One would assume the clean-out of the shoulder joint has Hafner in a better position this time around, but this development is his first step backward since he went under the knife. Wedge said the Indians had braced themselves for such a setback. "We knew this was something that might come our way," Wedge said. "It's not uncommon. Sometimes you've got to let [the shoulder] calm down a little bit. We don't think it's anything serious. We're going to have him go see Dr. Andrews just to make sure."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.