Back injury sends Travis Hafner to the disabled list again

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After missing the past three games with a back injury Travis Hafner is headed to the disabled list for the second time this season, as the Indians placed the designated hitter on the shelf and filled his roster spot with infielder Jason Donald.

Hafner spent all of June on the DL following knee surgery and has hit just .238 since returning, although he did show good power with five homers in 69 at-bats.

Hafner remains a productive hitter at age 35, sporting an OPS above .800 for the fourth straight season, but he simply can’t stay in the lineup at this point while playing 57, 94, 118, 94 and now 60 games in the past five seasons.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.