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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Ex-Wildcat finding his swing for Tribe

CLEVELAND — Travis Hafner and Shelley Duncan rejoined the ranks of the living Wednesday. That is, their bats came alive, despite another Indians loss, 10-6 to the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

Coming out of spring training, Hafner seemed to have found his aggressive swing and his discipline at the plate. But like almost all of his lodge brothers, he got stuck in the mud once the season started.

But against the Sox, he slammed his first home run of the season and doubled, driving in three runs for the game. Duncan also hit his first homer of 2012 with a runner on base and singled twice.

The biggest issue for the Tribe has been getting the offense to produce. Wednesday’s six-run outburst was a mix of good and bad. The attack produced 10 hits, but too many opportunities were lost for lack of a key hit.

“I think everybody was swinging pretty good today,” Duncan said. “I saw drastic improvement, so I think the offense is taking the right steps.”

But Duncan acknowledged the deficiencies in the attack against the Sox.

“Some guys were guessing a little bit,” he said. “We didn’t always produce when big chances came up. When we break through that, we’ll be better.”

Both of Hafner’s hits came off left-hander John Danks, a good sign, inasmuch as Hafner bats from the left side.

“It’s always good to swing the bat well,” he said. “I want to continue to build off that. If a couple of guys start swinging the bat well, guys can feed off that and get everybody going.”

Indians manager Manny Acta expects Hafner to become an impact run producer after finally shaking off a shoulder injury that plagued him for three years.

“Hafner was good the whole spring,” Acta said. “I expect him to do some damage for us.”

The Tribe’s 1-4 start is not something that Hafner anticipated.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said. “We wanted to get out of the chute well. It’s been a matter of getting key hits. We could have been 3-2 right now.”

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