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Smoke signals

• Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was in a 1-for-24 (.042) slump at the plate prior to his two-run home run in the fifth inning of Cleveland's 5-2 win over Colorado on Friday. Prior to that skid, Cabrera hit at a .407 clip in his previous 54 at-bats. Overall, the shortstop had posted a .311 (23-for-74) average over his past 19 games for the Tribe, entering Saturday.

"I know he's real comfortable hitting in the two-hole," Francona said. "He had that real good week [earlier in May] -- made him feel good about himself. Now he's been battling that [left] knee, but he took a big swing [Friday]."

• Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who returned from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday after coming back from a right oblique injury, was given a scheduled day off on Saturday against the Rockies. Francona said it is important to ease returning players back into the everyday grind of the season.

"I think you can lose sight of the big picture," Francona said. "Sometimes you can almost get a guy out of rhythm by giving him a day off. But, I think the guys that need the breaks are when they come back, because their body isn't used to what they're doing. You can't simulate playing nine innings [every day]."

• Francona noted that third baseman Carlos Santana (on seven-day concussion list) felt "much improved," but there still is no timetable for his return. First baseman Nick Swisher (15-day DL due to left knee issue) remains limited to pool workouts and is slated to resume "land-based" drills on Monday. Righty Zach McAllister (15-day DL with back strain) will throw a bullpen session on Sunday.

• The Rockies headed into Friday's meeting with the Indians with the fewest strikeouts in the National League. Cleveland's pitching staff proceeded to pile up 15 strikeouts, marking the most by a team against the Rockies this year. Corey Kluber's 12 strikeouts were the most for a starter against Colorado since John Lackey had a dozen against the Rockies on June 26 last year.

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