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06/28/08 7:34 PM ET
Hafner's return just a question of time
Carmona experiences no pain in latest throwing session
By Andrew Gribble / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said he has "no doubt" in his mind that Travis Hafner will return to the lineup at some point this season. But Pronk isn't ready to start swinging a bat -- not yet, at least. Even though Hafner's shoulder strength has increased "anywhere from 5-15 percent," it still remains just 45-50 percent as strong as his left shoulder. His strength is re-evaluated every seven to 10 days, with the next evaluation coming Friday.
"This is highly encouraging for us," Soloff said.
Soloff said Hafner's soreness and weakness in the shoulder was a result of pain Pronk likely felt throughout April and May before going on the DL on May 30.
"When you experience pain in an area, your muscles don't want to fire," Soloff said. "If they're inhibited, they become weaker."
Soloff, who has had to address the media almost as often as manager Eric Wedge of late, provided some clarity to the progress of the other members of the Tribe's walking wounded Saturday.
Fausto Carmona, who was placed on the DL on May 23 with a strained left hip, threw two sets of 30 tosses from 75 feet Saturday -- just one day after throwing the same amount from 60 feet.
After a day off Sunday, Carmona will throw from 105 feet, continuously increasing the distance while resting every two days. He will stay in Cleveland to continue his rehab while the club hits the road this week. The right-hander is "very tentatively scheduled" to join the team next Sunday in Minnesota for a bullpen session with Soloff, pitching coach Carl Willis and bullpen coach Luis Issac.
Carmona came this far before, though, but had to be shut down for three days after a recurrence of inflammation in the hip following a simulated game.
"He's a maximum-effort guy," Soloff said of the previous setback. "He just wasn't ready for that step in the program, despite feeling fine and without having symptoms."
Two weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, Victor Martinez is now going through two different sets of rehab. On top of the rehab on his throwing elbow, the Tribe catcher began performing "lower-body and hamstring-specific activities" Friday to relieve pain in his left hamstring, which has bothered him since injuring it Opening Day.
Soloff said it was "impossible to know" whether Martinez will be back on the short or long end of his original six-to-eight-week prognostication, but said he would have a better idea in about three weeks.
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.