Some players tend to shy away from the designated hitter role, saying their play in the field helps keep them in the game. Not Travis Hafner.
The Yankees’ new lefthanded DH said he hasn’t taken part in defensive drills in roughly five years, and while he might have a couple of gloves in his locker during the season, they won’t see much action.
“Usually people that need first base mitts will usually call me because they know,” Hafner said Sunday. “I haven’t really thrown much over the last five years or so. It would be something that, I don’t know, maybe just try it out and see how it goes, but I’m not sure at this point.”
Joe Girardi ended any suspense over Hafner’s role, saying he considers the 35-year-old a DH and nothing else. Hafner is slated to play against righthanders, while Derek Jeter and others will likely rotate through the DH spot against lefties. He last played the field in 2007.

Hafner played the past 10 seasons with the Indians, hitting 200 home runs while posting a slash line of .278/.382/.509. Hafner’s best season came in 2006, the third of four straight years in which he drove in at least 100 runs, but the Yankees are hoping he can still hit righthanders with the same success he has throughout his career — especially at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
“I think that’s a really good fit; I think it was the best spot for me,” Hafner said. “I’ve only been to the playoffs once in the last 10 years. I know here we have a great chance and I’m very excited about that and looking forward to the opportunity.”


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