Travis Hafner could return to Tribe in late September

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“Pronk” has not been shut down. Yet.

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner got encouraging news about his strained right foot Wednesday after paying a visit to an “out-of-state” specialist who usually treats NFL players.

Hafner is still required to wear a protective walking boot, but recent signs of progress point to him avoiding the season-ending surgery that he was rumored to be considering last week. If his foot continues to heal and his rehab goes smoothly, the 34-year-old could be cleared to return to the major leagues for the last week or two of September.

Hafner was placed on the disabled list August 22 after straining his right foot while trying to leg out a double in an August 21 game against the Tigers. He’s batted .281/.364/.448 with 11 homers and 49 RBI in 82 games.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.