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Smoke signals

• Francona said Sunday that the plan remains the same for first baseman Nick Swisher, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee injury. Swisher is scheduled to do a Minors rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Tuesday (five innings) and Wednesday (nine innings) before potentially rejoining Cleveland in Boston on Thursday.

"We visited with him today for a while, because he's all revved up about coming back," Francona said on Sunday. "He feels good, which is good, but we talked to him about not having an artificial clock. Let's get him back so he can be the player who impacts the game the way he needs to."

• Cleveland optioned first-base prospect Jesus Aguilar back to Columbus on Friday. In two stints with the big league club, the 23-year-old hit just .188 (3-for-16). Francona believes that Aguilar, who is one of Cleveland top power-hitting prospects, was pressing in an effort to impress the big league staff.

"I still think he's having a hard time relaxing," Francona said. "I don't think that a handful of games can define his career whether he hit .400 or no-hundred. I do think he's a big strong right-hand hitter that has power and he can play first base pretty well. That combination, you don't see a lot of. So, if it takes patience with him, we're going to be patient. The pay off could be huge."

• Indians backup catcher George Kottaras defeated Texas' Robbie Ross Jr. in a cow-milking competition prior to Saturday's game. Kottaras also beat Ross in the same promotional event last season, when the catcher was with Kansas City. On Sunday, Kottaras had his second silver bucket trophy sitting in his locker. At one point during the contest, Ross' cow kicked over his pail.

"It hit my bucket, too, but I grabbed it and had to hold it with one hand," Kottaras said. "They were moving left and right. I was milking one [udder] and it was missing the bin. It was going all over. It was a good time. It's all in fun."

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