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Indians get good news on Travis Hafner

CLEVELAND -- The injury-a-day Indians finally got a favorable medical checkup.

Designated hitter Travis Hafner received "encouraging" news Wednesday from doctors about his injured right foot and could return soon for the playoff chase.

"We're going to be able to see him again," manager Manny Acta said before Cleveland hosted Oakland. "I don't have a timetable yet, but it's encouraging that he's going to be able to rejoin our team and play again -- this year."

Also, outfielder Michael Brantley had successful right hand surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

Hafner has been sidelined since Aug. 21, when he strained a tendon in his foot after hitting a single in Detroit and rounding first base. Hafner's foot had been bothering him since he hurt it while sliding in April. He's batting .281 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs.

Acta would not address if Hafner will need offseason surgery.

"I'm not going to get into that," Acta said, deferring the question to trainer Lonnie Soloff, who was not available for comment.

Hafner did not speak with reporters. He left Progressive Field while the Indians were taking pregame batting practice.

Cleveland's offense has sputtered and could use Hafner's big bat back in the middle of its lineup. With Hafner out, the Indians acquired slugger Jim Thome in a trade from Minnesota last week. Acta said he will use both Hafner and Thome at DH when both are healthy.

Because of a sore back, Thome is limited to playing just three days in a row, and he's not in the lineup for day games after the Indians play the previous night.

"(Hafner) is not going to be able to play every day, and Thome is in the same situation," Acta said. "They'll share duties."

The Indians have been ravaged by injuries all season, yet have managed to stay near the top in the AL Central. They currently have six players -- five starters -- on the disabled list. Also, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has been limited by an injured side. He hasn't played since Saturday.

But as August closes, the Indians are at least getting a little healthier.

Outfielder Grady Sizemore begins a rehab stint at Double-A Akron and could rejoin the Indians within the next week. Sizemore has been out since July 18 with a bruised knee. He will DH on Wednesday, play six innings in the outfield on Thursday and then get a day off.

The Indians will see how he responds before deciding when to activate the three-time All-Star, who came back from knee microfracture surgery and was playing well before getting hurt again.

Brantley, who is out for the season with the hand injury, underwent surgery Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic. The Indians reported the operation by noted orthopedist Dr. Thomas Graham was a success and they expect the 24-year-old Brantley to be ready for spring training.