Rob Bradford of WEEI.com in Boston is reporting that the Yankees could be approaching an agreement with free agent Travis Hafner. The 35-year-old Hafner has spent the bulk of his career with the Cleveland Indians and since 2007, has primarily served as the team's designated hitter. While he does have experience manning first base, injuries have kept him away from any defensive responsibilities.
While it's easy to predict Hafner would have little-to-no value spelling first baseman Mark Teixeira once or twice a week, Hafner's value as a left-handed hitter facing right-handed pitching would make this a low-risk, high-reward signing. However, Hafner does have shortcomings against left-handed pitching, which in turn could cede scenarios facing southpaws to right-handed Eduardo Nunez should Hafner's struggles continue.
As previously stated, numerous injuries have riddled Hafner over the last few seasons, particularly a bulging disc in his back last season which significant hampered his playing time.
However, as a career .278 hitter with a .381 on-base percentage and a knack for prominence against right-handed pitching (over 150 career home-runs and a near .400 OBP against right-handers), Hafner's professional approach could potentially blend in well with a traditionally disciplined Yankees approach in the batters box.
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