Travis Hafner nearing possible weekend return from DL

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Injuries have played a big part in the Indians losing 14 of 19 games to see their AL Central lead vanish, but it sounds like they’ll have Travis Hafner back in the lineup soon.

Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that Hafner took batting practice yesterday and is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today at Double-A, putting him on track to return from the disabled list as soon as this weekend.

Hafner has been out since mid-May with a strained oblique and hit .345 with five homers and a .958 OPS in 32 games prior to the injury. Bastian notes that the Indians are 8-16 without him in the lineup and have hit just .224 with 3.2 runs per game during that time while starting six different players in the designated hitter spot.

Blue Jays could move Jaime Garcia to bullpen

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Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.

Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.

Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.