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IndiansFan337
07-21-2008, 09:32 AM
Hafner injury an opportunity for some
At-bats go to Francisco, Choo, Gutierrez and Cabrera

SEATTLE -- With key hitters Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner out with injuries, the Indians' lineup is seeing a heavy dose of inexperienced youth on most days.

Shin-Soo Choo, Franklin Gutierrez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ben Francisco are all either 26 years old or younger, and none of them has had a continuous full season in their Major League careers.

Choo, Gutierrez and Francisco have all spent time in the outfield with center fielder Grady Sizemore, while Cabrera has been playing second base while also spending some time in the Minor Leagues.

A byproduct of the other injuries on the team, particularly the one to Hafner, is that these young prospects can get their Major League at-bats because manager Eric Wedge has the designated hitter spot open.

"It helps us having the DH spot," Wedge said. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I wanted Hafner back yesterday. But what it does, it allows us to give these guys playing time because we can work in and out of that DH spot."

That luxury came into play Saturday, when Choo, Francisco and Gutierrez started in the outfield while Sizemore occupied the DH spot.
Indians.com link (http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080720&content_id=3162417&vkey=news_cle&fext=.jsp&c_id=cle)