There was a news story out yesterday that Travis Hafner started swinging a bat today for the first time since his shoulder operation on October 13, 2008. This must be terrific news for Eric Wedge and for Cleveland fans.
Hafner had been a force in the majors since he broke into the Cleveland lineup full time in 2004. In fact, Hafner posted OPS statistics from 2004 through 2006 of .993, 1.003 and 1.097, figures that were among the leaders in the league.
The designated hitter definitely hit a speed bump in 2007 when his Batting Average from dipped from .308 to .266 and his .OPS from 1.097 to .835. He tried to play through the pain last year but was completely ineffective and shut it down after only 57 games with a Batting Average under the Mendoza Line.
His shoulder operation was performed by the great Dr. James Andrews, who has saved the careers of so many players in baseball and football. That also has to give his manager and his fans a lot of good cheer.
Hafner's troubles, along with pitching woes, certainly hampered the Indians last year. They went from contending in 2007 to a .500 team last year. If Hafner can come back close to what he was, that will go a long way into bringing the Indians back into contention.
For his part, Hafner believes he will be close to his old self and soon. See here for that post and what he says about his injury and where he is now. Cleveland fans, no doubt, are rooting that he is right and so is the club that is paying him $11 million this year to do just that.