6-30-2012: Placed 3B Lonnie Chisenhall on the 15-day DL (fractured ulna)
Recalled IF Jason Donald from Columbus (AAA)
The initial diagnosis was for a 6 week recovery period, but that's since been amended to 10-12 weeks. Essentially, that means Lonnie's season is over.
Just days before Travis Hafner was to come off the Disabled List, the Indians lost one of their key hitters to a major injury. I suppose we don't yet think of Chisenhall as a key hitter, but you could see the potential, even though Chisenhall had a distinct aversion to walks in his major league stints. He's one of the few prospects/young players in the system that has legitimate power potential, and even though it was from the left side, it's something that's needed on this club. At the time he was hurt, Chisenhall and Hannahan were sharing time at third, and Chisenhall was getting some at-bats at DH as well. With Hafner coming back, that would have gone away, and possibly he might have been the one to go back to AAA.
The Indians actually have some major-league depth at third, with Hannahan and Lopez capable of covering the position. Hannahan has struggled of later (.200/.263/.257 over the past two weeks), so maybe Lopez starts getting more regular playing time there. Manny Acta has been channeling Earl Weaver's usage of offense/defense this season, so perhaps he'll go that way with Lopez (offense) and Hannahan (defense).
Donald was recalled as a temporary fix, and also as a way to give Asdrubal Cabrera a day off before the All-Star Break. The Indians have been going without a true backup at shortstop for quite a while now; Chisenhall was actually the stated backup until he got hurt, and now that Donald is back in Columbus, Hannahan would be the one to take over if Asdrubal couldn't go. Donald apparently fixed his throwing issues in Columbus, and would be the logical choice if/when the Indians have a roster spot for a backup middle infielder.
7-4-2012: Re-instated DH Travis Hafner from the Disabled List
Placed OF Shelley Duncan on the Paternity List
Hafner's rehab took a bit longer thanks to a rain-out, but he made it back on schedule. At this stage of his career, Hafner is a station-to-station runner; even as recently as 2 years ago, he was an underrated base runner for a person of his size, but knee and foot problems have taken away that ability. But he still can work pitchers with the best of them, and has the ability to hit the ball out of the park.
The Indians delayed making a roster decision by placing Shelley Duncan on the relatively-new Paternity List, as Duncan's wife was about to deliver twins.
7-6-2012: Re-instated OF Shelley Duncan from the Paternity List
Optioned IF Jason Donald to Columbus (AAA)
With Duncan back, the Indians again kicked the can down the road by going without a middle infield until the All-Star Break so that they could ponder the DH/corner outfield conundrum a bit longer. It's kind of odd that they've been dragging their feet on this issue despite the increasing talk that they're going to try to upgrade left field. And at this point I think the correct guy to cut is Johnny Damon, who despite some recent good games is still only hitting .206/.278/.325. Over the last 28 days he's hitting .233/.270/.383, which is somewhat respectable, but Duncan's been better, and more importantly, he's right-handed. I don't think anyone would lose sleep over Aaron Cunningham being let go, but the Indians would have to recall a center fielder to take his place.
7-7-2012: Optioned LHP Nick Hagadone to Columbus (AAA)
This felt kind of odd, as the Indians announced at the same time that Hagadone was being optioned that Scott Barnes would be recalled the following day. Well, why option someone if the guy you wanted to take his placed wouldn't be available for another day (because Barnes had been sent down less than 10 ago). What would it hurt if Hagadone spent another day in the bullpen?
It turns out that there was more going on than just roster moves. Hagadone was optioned to Columbus, and then placed on the minor-league Disqualified List because of a self-inflicted injury, one that may cost him the rest of the season. Apparently at some point after his appearance on Friday night, his left hand lost a battle with a hard inanimate object. Optioning Hagadone first means that the Indians will not pay him, and that Hagadone will not accrue any major league service time will he recovers from his injury. Obviously there will be some reaction from the Players' Association will be forthcoming, especially if the injury was found to have occurred before the Indians optioned him down.
7-8-2012: Recalled LHP Scott Barnes from Columbus (AAA)
With Hagadone out of commission and Rafael Perez perhaps a couple weeks from starting a rehab assignment, Barnes is going to get some key innings with the Indians. A starter until this season, Barnes has been moved to the bullpen with success in Columbus; he's allowed just 5.9 H/9, and has struck out 10.3/9.