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Indians' Hafner needs knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

A bad week on the injury front just got worse for the Cleveland Indians.

Designated hitter Travis Hafner will have surgery on his right knee Thursday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said Wednesday that Hafner would have an arthroscopic procedure to repair fraying and irritation in his right meniscus. Hafner was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday's game against Kansas City.

Hafner, who will turn 35 on June 3, is making $13 million in the final season of a four-year, $57 million contract. The Indians hold a club option for next season worth $13 million and a $2.75 million buyout. This is the sixth trip to the DL in five seasons for Hafner. Three of the DL stints have been because of a right shoulder injury, which he had surgery on following the 2008 season.

Hafner hasn't played since May 23. He is hitting .242 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 39 games.

The loss of their cleanup hitter is more bad news for the Indians, who fell out of first place in the AL Central for the first time since April 22 after losing to Kansas City on Tuesday night. Catcher Carlos Santana is on the seven-day DL with a concussion and Asdrubal Cabrera returned Tuesday after missing four games with a hamstring injury. Cabrera was the DH on Wednesday, but was back at his regular shortstop position on Thursday.

Third baseman Jack Hannahan, who missed 11 games with a back injury, returned for one game but strained his calf and is on the 15-day DL. Catcher Lou Marson, who serves as Santana's backup, hasn't played since Sunday when he was hit in the face by a pitch Sunday in Chicago. Marson has a gash on the inside of his mouth that required three stitches to close.

Hafner, the Indians' cleanup hitter, ran in the outfield and took batting practice before Tuesday night's game and manager Manny Acta said he would be available to pinch-hit.

"Despite feeling very good while he was hitting, it was causing him symptoms when he was running," Soloff said. "His feedback was if he altered how he ran he would feel better, but at this point we don't want Travis to compensate and end up in a worse spot. This is the prudent thing to do for him."

The surgery will be performed at the Cleveland Clinic.

"It's wear and tear," Soloff said. "He doesn't recall any one instance that flared it up. We were hopeful that rest and medication would resolve his symptoms."

Left-hander Scott Barnes has been recalled from Triple-A Columbus and will be used out of the bullpen. He is 0-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 11 games at Columbus.