Hafner will test shoulder Friday with batting practice

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Some more injury news on this less-than-frantic Thursday evening.

According to John Barone of MLB.com, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner is scheduled to take batting practice on Friday afternoon at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.  If it goes well, he could be cleared immediately for a minor league rehab assignment.

“We’re going to have him take a lot of swings, just like normal BP,”
Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. “We’ll see how he feels after that and
talk about the possibility of him going [on a Minor League
rehabilitation assignment] and getting a few at-bats before he joins
us.”

Hafner landed on the disabled list in late July with yet another case of shoulder soreness and was batting a disappointing .267/.368/.430 with nine home runs in 82 games before the injury.  He has not played more than 95 games since 2007, when the Tribe made it all the way to the ALCS and “Pronk” himself was considered a lethal slugger.  Hopefully he can make up for lost time with a strong September.  The 33-year-old is owed $13 million in each of the next two seasons.

Phillies promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.

Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.

The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.