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Smoke signals

• The chicken that attended pregame batting practice with Cleveland's players on Wednesday, and became dubbed the "Rally Chicken" by Indians fans via Twitter during the 6-4 victory over the Orioles, has been returned safely to its owners.

Prior to Friday's game, Francona was asked if the Tribe's lucky chicken stirred any memories of the infamous fried chicken controversy during his final days as the Red Sox's manager.

"I actually hadn't thought of that," Francona said after letting out a hearty laugh. "That's pretty good. As long as the chicken wasn't drinking beer, we're good to go."

• Friday's game against the Mets marked the first of 17 consecutive games for the Indians, whose final regular-season off-day falls on Sept. 23. Francona said the team might consider going to a six-man rotation during the current stretch should circumstances dictate such a decision.

"If we needed it, yeah," Francona said. "We don't really have a guy right now that you can pencil in and say he's going nine [innings]. So, you don't want to do too much tinkering. We do have enough numbers where, when we're losing, we can hopefully cover the innings."

• Entering Friday, Ryan Raburn (4.60), Jason Giambi (5.83) and Jason Kipnis (6.36) represented the Indians' top three batters in terms of at-bats per RBI. Among American League hitters with at least 165 at-bats, Raburn, Giambi and Kipnis ranked third, 15th and 24th, respectively, in that area.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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