Travis Hafner, John McDonald and Charles Nagy Rejoin Cleveland Indians

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Former Cleveland Indians Will Rejoin Organization as Special Assistants

Former Cleveland Indians pitcher Charles Nagy, former designated hitter Travis Hafner and former infielder John McDonald will return to Cleveland in front office and coaching roles.

Nagy was hired by the Indians in January 2014, after spending three years at the Arizona Diamondback’s pitching coach. He’s probably far more familiar to Clevelanders as a three-time All-Star pitcher and the de facto ace of many of the powerhouse Indians teams of the 1990’s. He was drafted by the Indians in 1988, was a fixture in Cleveland’s rotation by the end of 1990, and spent 13 years in an Indians uniform before making five starts for the San Diego Padres in 2003 and retiring. 

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Hafner also spent the majority of his career in Cleveland, with 10 out of his 12 seasons in an Indians uniform. He was arguably the best hitter in MLB from 2004 to 2007, and hit 200 home runs for the Indians from 2003 until he joined the New York Yankees prior to the 2013 season. Acquiring Hafner was one of former general manager Mark Shapiro’s biggest coups, landing Hafner and RHP Aaron Myette for RHP Ryan Drese and a season of Einar Diaz. Unfortunately, in hindsight Hafner’s extension was one of the worst contracts Cleveland has had in recent memory, with injuries marring his performance from 2008 until he left. No one has ever complained that Hafner didn’t know how to hit, though, so having him around to help development could be quite beneficial.

Jun 16, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop John McDonald (8) turns a double play over Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) in the third inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, John McDonald was drafted by the Indians in 1996 and joined the big-league club in 1999, quickly earning himself a reputation as a slick-fielding utility player. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince noted when McDonald retired last month, Johnny Mac somewhat amazingly played for 16 seasons in MLB, including an eight-game return to Cleveland during the 2013 season, and seems to be universally well-liked in the game. He was never a regular during his time in Cleveland from 1999 until 2004, but you could say that about his time almost anywhere.

All three will be in Spring Training with the club as coaches, as will former Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher.

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