Source: Yankees on verge of agreement with Travis Hafner
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The Yankees are about to cross another item off their offseason to-do list, though they could be back in the market for the same item in due time.
They are on the verge of an agreement -- "not yet but close," one source said Thursday night -- with Travis Hafner to be a lefthanded-hitting designated hitter, the role occupied last season by Raul Ibañez.
The Yankees were interested in retaining Ibañez, who signed with the Mariners.
The one-year, incentive-heavy deal with Hafner -- aka "Pronk'' -- is expected to become official Friday.
Hafner, 35, whom the Yankees tried to get last offseason, has power -- he has 201 homers in his 11-year career, including 42 in 2006 -- but an extensive history of injuries.
He hit 127 homers and drove in at least 100 runs each season from 2004-07, but injuries soon took hold. After that, Hafner reached 100 games played only once -- 118 in 2010 -- from 2008 through last season. He battled knee and back problems and played in only 66 games for the Indians in 2012.
Hafner, who hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs last season, can play first base but hasn't played in the field since 2007. He has shown he can hit righthanders, the reason behind the low-risk move.
In his career, Hafner has a .287 batting average, .391 on-base percentage, .534 slugging percentage and .925 OPS against righthanders.
Against righties last season, he hit .241 with a .361 OBP and .798 OPS. In the last three years, he hit .278 with a .385 on-base percentage against righties.
"Solid move," one scout said. "Could pay off big if they keep him healthy."
Given Hafner's recent history, it is a big "if."
Extra basesDerek Jeter worked out at the team's minor-league complex for a fourth straight day, hitting in the cage and fielding grounders in the course of two days. The shortstop, rehabbing from ankle surgery, still has not run, the next significant step in his recovery . . . Michael Pineda (shoulder surgery) looked "free and easy" in his first half-mound session Tuesday, according to one observer. Pineda, expected back by mid-to-late June, could throw another half-mound session Friday . . . The Yankees released a list of 44 spring training invitations, a group that includes outfielders Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera and Thomas Neal, infielder Dan Johnson, catcher Bobby Wilson and righthander Matt Daley, a Garden City graduate who signed with the Yankees last offseason. Also among the players invited are four top organizational prospects: outfielders Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin, shortstop Cito Culver and catcher Gary Sanchez.