MLB

Hafner OK, back in Cleveland Indians lineup

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Travis Hafner is in the Cleveland Indians' lineup, though manager Manny Acta doesn't have an exact timetable for the return of other injured players.

For the fifth straight game, third baseman Jack Hannahan was not available due to a sore back Friday as the AL Central-leading Indians began interleague play with the opener of a three-game series against the Florida Marlins.

''Travis says he feels good, so he's in there,'' Acta said of the designated hitter, who left Thursday's game against Seattle after being hit in the right hand by a pitch.

''Hannahan has gotten a lot better and is probably available for emergency status, but I can't say he's going to play tomorrow.''

Acta was encouraged that right-hander Josh Tomlin appeared closer to returning. Tomlin, out since May 8 with a sore right wrist, began a throwing program, while left-hander Rafael Perez, out since April 26 with a strained muscle in his back, threw a bullpen session and Grady Sizemore took some batting practice as he recovers from back surgery in March.

''It's good news on Josh that he was able to play catch right away,'' Acta said. ''Raffy will probably throw a simulated game before we can get him out and pitching.''

Hafner was disappointed that he had to be lifted for a pinch-hitter during Cleveland's game-winning rally in the 11th inning on Thursday.

''I could see guys getting on base, so I ran down to the tunnel and was kicking stuff around, jumping around, trying to get some adrenalin pumping,'' Hafner said. ''But my hand had swelled up so bad that I couldn't grip a bat. I couldn't go up there like that.

''It feels a lot better today.''

Hafner flied out to center in the first inning against Miami's Carlos Zambrano.

Tomlin played catch at a 75-foot interval before the game and said he no longer needs to wear a protective splint. He said he is hopeful of being ready to pitch when he is eligible to come off the disabled list May 23.

''It feels good, but we have to see how it progresses,'' Tomlin said.

Trainer Lonnie Soloff said an MRI confirmed what the team had suspected - Tomlin strained his wrist when he gripped the baseball a little tighter than usual while pitching in the rain in his last start.

''This is an uncommon injury for somebody who does a lot of throwing,'' Soloff said. ''I don't have a return date set in stone, but it is very encouraging.''

Tagged: Indians, Travis Hafner, Josh Tomlin

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