Hafner expected to be ready at start of '09 season after shoulder surgery

CLEVELAND -- Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday, and is expected to be ready for the start of next season.

Renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews performed the 45-minute operation on Hafner at St. Vincent Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., the club said.

Andrews cleaned out Hafner's shoulder joint, the Indians said in a statement. He missed more than three months this season after losing most of the strength in his shoulder. The team did not indicate that Andrews found any abnormalities in Hafner's shoulder.

He will begin physical therapy Thursday at Progressive Field.

The slugger was on the disabled list from May 30 until Sept. 9. The Indians, who finished third in the AL Central, had hoped rest and rehab would return the lost strength to Hafner's shoulder. But when he returned to the lineup, his swing was not what it once was, and during a year-end examination Indians doctors found Hafner's shoulder had weakened.

The Indians and Hafner delayed surgery until they were certain it was necessary. Andrews, too, initially felt the shoulder would recover with rehab.

The 31-year-old Hafner batted .195 with five homers and 24 RBIs this season. In the previous two seasons combined, he hit 66 homers and drove in 217 runs.

In July 2007, the Indians signed Hafner to a six-year, $65 million contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013. The club still owes Hafner more than $51 million.