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Smoke signals

• Following a seven-game break to rest his sore left shoulder, first baseman Nick Swisher returned to the lineup on Sunday and went 0-for-5 in a loss to the Twins. Entering Monday, he was batting .100 with no home runs and four RBIs in his past 16 games.

Manager Terry Francona has not considered dropping Swisher in the lineup. In fact, he's been considering just the opposite.

"I actually thought about bumping him up," said Francona, who has used Swisher as the cleanup hitter this season. "I've thought about hitting him second a little bit, and I still may. I've talked to him about it a little bit. If he's scuffling, that might be a really good spot for him -- with [leadoff man Michael Bourn] on base. We'll see."

• All-Star closer Chris Perez is scheduled to log an inning for Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley in a rehab appearance on Tuesday. It could be the final step in Perez's comeback from the injury to his right shoulder that has kept him on the 15-day disabled list since May 27.

"We're hopeful that'll be his last one," Francona said. "He's been on board completely, the whole way. He knows [that] when he's pitching in the ninth inning and the game's on the line, he's got to be at his best. His cooperation has been tremendous."

• In the seventh inning of Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Twins, Ryan Doumit was called safe by first-base umpire Chad Fairchild on a bang-bang play at the bag. Swisher gloved the grounder and flipped it to reliever Nick Hagadone, who stutter-stepped but appeared to recover in time to step on the base just ahead of Doumit. Francona said there was no doubt Hagadone reached the base first.

"I know he did," he said. "Did you see the replay? [Doumit] was out. I asked the umpire, I said, 'Can you tell me you got that right?' He just stared at me."

• Second baseman Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch in the first inning on Monday, making it 26 consecutive games on base via hit, walk or HBP. Entering Monday, he was batting .400 in June and .476 in his past 12 games. His 1.068 OPS in June ranked fourth in the American League among hitters with at least 40 at-bats.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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