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Smoke signals

MLB.com

• Pitchers were given the choice whether to work with a protective "L" screen for the first round of live batting practice Friday. Most went without, which was fine with Francona. Justin Masterson, Axford, Aaron Harang, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen and Zach McAllister were among the many arms that threw.

"That's not exactly the most popular day in camp," Francona said. "There's a lot of bone bruises, and they're all aware that it's for the pitchers. But it's another step closer towards getting in games. I just roam around and try to watch. It's just nice to watch. You're certainly not evaluating."

• Pitchers were given the choice whether to work with a protective "L" screen for the first round of live batting practice Friday. Most went without, which was fine with Francona. Justin Masterson, Axford, Aaron Harang, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen and Zach McAllister were among the many arms that threw.

"That's not exactly the most popular day in camp," Francona said. "There's a lot of bone bruises, and they're all aware that it's for the pitchers. But it's another step closer towards getting in games. I just roam around and try to watch. It's just nice to watch. You're certainly not evaluating."

• Bauer threw under the watchful eyes of executive vice president/general manager Chris Antonetti, Francona and others. Francona said the right-hander looked much "smoother in his delivery" than during Spring Training last year. During last season, and over the winter, Bauer implemented an array of changes to his mechanics.

"He was just trying to get back to where he was comfortable," Francona explained. "He had some injuries -- I think it was his groin -- and because of that he made some modifications. Last year, he was trying to make that in the Major League environment, and it was difficult. He spent the entire winter trying to get back to where he was comfortable and he did a really good job."

• Prior to signing Axford over the winter, the Indians expressed confidence that either Allen or Bryan Shaw could serve as the team's closer. Part of the reason Cleveland signed Axford for that role is Francona's comfort with using Allen and Shaw as the primary setup men for the seventh and eighth innings.

"I think more games are won or lost there than in the ninth," Francona said.

• While he was warming up Allen for Friday's live BP, Indians catcher Matt Treanor turned to a nearby group of hitters and said, "You guys brought extra bats, right?" The first hitter, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, prompty shattered his bat on his first swing against one of Allen's pitches.

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

Cleveland Indians