CLEVELAND -- The Indians not only anticipate the return of Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore to their lineup next season, but also a healthier Travis Hafner.
Right shoulder woes have robbed Hafner of the power that once made him an elite slugger, but Pronk has authored a productive second half to his 2010 campaign. In 41 second-half games through Monday, the designated hitter has batted .326 with 15 doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs.
"I think he made some progress this year, according to what I heard about last year," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "We're going into Spring Training with the hope that he has no limitations. It will be huge, especially for guys like [Shin-Soo] Choo and Santana, to have that presence around them next year."
Hafner averaged 32 homers and 109 RBIs per season from 2004-07. He hasn't approached that level of production since, though Acta still considers Pronk a viable middle-of-the-order threat.
The key, of course, is Hafner's health, which -- one disabled list stint notwithstanding -- has improved in '10.
"Last year he was unable to play more than three games in a row, and this year he started the season without restriction," Acta said. "We were just managing him to 5-6 games a week. He hurt his shoulder and went on the DL [in August], but after that he's been able to play 4-5 games a week, which is better than what he did last year.
"He was obviously expecting more production this year, but he's hit 29 doubles and 12 home runs. We've talked to Travis, and the hope for next year is he'll have had one more offseason under his belt on that shoulder."
Donald focused on offseason preparation
CLEVELAND -- With his season over, Jason Donald can officially start looking forward to 2011.
But not too far ahead. For now, the Indians' second baseman is focused on the offseason preparation he hopes will lead to him earning a starting role next spring.
Donald, who bruised his right index finger while bunting Sept. 11, batted .253 with 39 runs, four home runs and 24 RBIs across 88 games this season, his first taste of Major League action.
"It was a great experience," said Donald, acquired by the Tribe from the Phillies in the July 2009 Cliff Lee trade. "I learned a lot. What I need to do is take what I learned this year, apply it, take it into my work this winter and use it for next year."
A left forearm injury to Asdrubal Cabrera in mid-May prompted the Indians to summon Donald -- and employ him as their regular shortstop -- earlier than anticipated.
"He was thrown into the fire, but he kept his head above water," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "Our plan out of Spring Training was to have him play [for] Triple-A [Columbus] the whole year, but Cabrera's injury forced us to have him up here.
"We really like the way he goes about his business. He still kept his head above water after Cabrera came back. He looked good, man."
Does Donald have a leg up on the second base job for '11?
"It depends on what we do in the offseason," Acta said. "We have to wait."
And wait Donald will. His intentions, though, are clear.
"You always want to be an everyday guy, no matter who you are or what position you play," he said. "That's in the future and not something I'm looking at right now. I just know I'm ready to work this offseason. When it's time to do that, I'll be ready to go."
Tribe's Sizemore, Santana take aim at 2011
CLEVELAND -- Manny Acta has visions of a healthy Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore in his head. Come February, the Indians manager's fantasy should become a reality.
"They are both on target to be ready for Spring Training," Acta said.
Sizemore, who had season-ending microfracture surgery on his left knee June 4, recently attended a checkup in Vail, Colo., and is currently rehabbing in Arizona.
"[The checkup] was just to make sure everything has gone as planned," Acta said. "He's doing well. He's doing a lot of pull exercises."
Will Sizemore shift from center field to left next season given the presence of Michael Brantley? Stay tuned.
"We won't even think about any of those decisions until Grady is healthy," Acta said. "We're going to have to see how he comes back from the surgery in Spring Training."
Santana also underwent season-ending left knee surgery, four days after spraining his lateral collateral ligament during a gruesome home-plate collision Aug. 2 at Fenway Park. Cleveland on Thursday transferred the rookie catcher from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner twisted his ankle during last week's road series against the Twins, which has prompted Tribe manager Manny Acta to pinch-hit or pinch-run for Pronk in four of the slugger's past five games. "Whenever the game is under control and we can take him out late, we'll do it," Acta said. ... Outfielder Trevor Crowe entered Tuesday's action batting .345 over the course of a career-high 13-game hitting streak, the longest active stretch in the Major Leagues. ... Through Monday, Cleveland's pitching staff had registered a 3.28 September ERA, the second-best mark in the American League. ... For more on the Indians, visit CastroTurf at http://castrovince.mlblogs.com.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.