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Forum staff reports, Published June 30 2013

ND native Hafner sporting trimmer look in the Bronx

MINNEAPOLIS – The New York Yankees’ high-priced roster has been marred by injuries all season long.

Yet one player who has managed to stay relatively healthy has been the oft-injured Travis Hafner.

Hafner, of Sykeston, N.D., was hitting just .221 through Saturday, with the Yankees starting a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins today at Target Field. But his 62 games played through Saturday are only four fewer than he played last season.

Hafner’s 12 homers rank second on the power-starved Yankees, who have had only 23 combined games played from former All-Stars Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez due to injuries.

The 36-year-old Hafner, who signed a one-year deal with New York in the offseason, had health in mind during spring training.

Having reportedly played at 255 pounds last season, Hafner – nicknamed “Pronk” – said in mid-March that he had already lost 10 pounds from the previous season. He was hoping to put less wear on his body, and to improve on a 2012 season in which he hit only .228 in 66 games.

“I really believe some injuries got my mechanics out of whack,” Hafner told the New York Daily News in spring training.

Hafner’s numbers have dipped since a red-hot April that saw him hit .318 with six homers and 17 RBIs.

But a left-handed pull hitter can shine with a short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. And Hafner has been dangerous at home this season with a .546 slugging percentage that’s about 200 points higher than his road average.