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Smoke signals

• The Indians announced Wednesday that they have hired former Major Leaguer Matt Kata (a native of Mentor, Ohio, and a graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland) as their manager of youth baseball development and initiatives. Kata will oversee the organization's growing lineup of youth baseball camps, clinics and development of instructional programs in Northeast Ohio.

"Matt brings a unique combination of expertise, experience and passion for youth baseball and the city of Cleveland to this role," Indians president Mark Shapiro said in a release. "Matt will lead our efforts to strengthen the bond between youth baseball and softball participants and the Cleveland Indians and help to positively impact our community."

• Indians manager Terry Francona is not too worried about the specific order of his rotation. Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister and Danny Salazar project to be on the staff, along with one of Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer and Aaron Harang. The order will be determined closer to the start of the regular season.

"First of all, I don't care about the numbers," Francona said Wednesday. "Somebody is going to pitch the first game of the year. After that, it really doesn't matter. They're all going to have to pitch."

• The Indians signed two more of their zero-to-three service time players Wednesday, reaching deals with infielder Jose Ramirez and first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Cleveland is excited about the potential for both players, especially Aguilar, who had 34 homers and 155 RBIs in 725 at-bats between Double-A Akron last season and the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason.

"This kid's got a chance to be a real legitimate right-handed power hitter," Francona said of Aguilar. "What he does in the next two weeks, it's really not going to have much of an impact besides the fact that it's fun to watch and kind of get to know him."

• Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, who has been on a conservative throwing program early this spring, is scheduled to make his first game appearance during an intrasquad "B" game Friday morning. Relievers John Axford, Frank Herrmann, Colt Hynes, Blake Wood and Marc Rzepzcynski are also slated to appear in that three-inning contest.

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