Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Does Travis Hafner's DL Trip Matter?

(Courtesy of the AP)

It got swept under the rug by the related story of Derek Jeter returning, but Travis Hafner hit the DL on Sunday with a right rotator cuff strain.  He had problems with the same shoulder earlier in the year, and it finally got bad enough where the decision was made to DL him, removing a powerful lefty bat from the lineup.  Well, in theory that's what it did.  In actuality, it cleared some dead weight from the middle of the lineup and actually gave Joe a chance to insert a potentially more productive bat.

Hafner went to the DL with a .143/.226/.196 batting line in July, pitiful by any standards.  He hasn't hit a home run since June 25th and hasn't driven in a run since July 5th.  His high K rate (29.0%) and dramatic disappearance of power can both likely be tied to the shoulder problems, and with as much as he's had to play it's probably for the best to get him some time off.

Will he have anything left when he does come back?  That' the key question for the Yankees.  Hafner was a beast for them in the middle of the lineup early in the season before falling off the map this month.  To re-introduce a healthy and powerful Pronk back into the lineup for the stretch run could be a very beneficial offensive upgrade.  For now, the loss of Hafner helps the Yankees temporarily improve a lineup that needs improving.  For the stretch run, it might not mean much if he can't come back and do something useful.

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