Travis Hafner quietly having a good, healthy year in Cleveland

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He’s no longer the middle-of-the-lineup monster he was from 2004 to 2006 and the Indians have been pretty miserable all season, but Travis Hafner is quietly having a very productive and mostly healthy year.
He’s already played 101 games after shoulder problems limited him to a total of 151 games in the previous two seasons and Hafner has hit .298/.391/.483 in 80 games since a terrible first month.
That can’t compare to the incredible .308/.419/.611 line he posted during his three-year peak, but Hafner is hitting .347/.418/.551 since the All-Star break and has come back from the injuries to re-establish himself as a very solid designated hitter and middle-of-the-order threat. I’d credit the Indians for having the patience to stick with him throughout all the health problems and mediocre production, but in reality they didn’t have much of a choice.
As part of a contract extension signed in mid-2007, he’s making $11.5 million this season and is still owed $13 million for both 2011 and 2012, plus a $2.75 million buyout for 2013. His contract isn’t going to get any less cringe-inducing for Indians fans, but at least Hafner is back to being an asset again.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.