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Indians notebook: Terry Francona trying to keep up morale after tough series in Atlanta

DETROIT: Manager Terry Francona called one of the briefest meetings on record before Friday night’s game to keep everyone on the same page.

“Last night we were kind of down in the dumps,” Francona said. “We didn’t do much [in getting swept by the Atlanta Braves]. But we want to make sure we go through the last month of the season with no regrets.

“We need to do what we do as well as we can. At the end we’ll see if that was enough. We have a chance to do something special.”

CHANGE OF PLANS — Corey Kluber threw a bullpen session Friday and will throw a simulated game in Cleveland on Monday, further testing his sprained middle finger.

“This speeds up the process a little,” Francona said. “It allows him to pitch after that.”

Presumably, Kluber will return to the rotation, although at the moment there are no weak links for him to replace.

“We’d rather start him,” Francona said. “That’s what he does. Maybe we’d have him on a short leash.”

Minor-league seasons will be over this weekend, so there is nowhere Kluber can go for a rehab assignment. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 5.

HE’S BACK — Kelly Shoppach was the Indians’ No. 2 catcher from 2006-2009, coming into prominence in 2008, when he batted .261 with 21 homers, 22 doubles and 55 RBI in 352 at-bats.

Since then, he’s been around the block a few times, particularly this year. Shoppach, 33, started the season with the Seattle Mariners, who released him June 20. On July 3, he was signed by the Washington Nationals, who let him go 28 days later.

Shoppach caught on with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 12 but was released Aug. 28, which gave the Indians a chance to step in. He will be the No. 3 catcher, which probably means little playing time, but Shoppach has power and is a capable defensive catcher.

“He’s another player who can improve our depth,” General Manager Chris Antonetti said. “He can come in and run a game, handle a pitching staff and control the running game. He also can help us against left-handed pitching.”

In 107 at-bats, Shoppach hit .196 with three homers and nine RBI for the Mariners. He spent the rest of 2013 in the minors.

PROPHETIC — Detroit Tigers Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera had to leave the game after two innings with irritation in the abdominal area. Cabrera has been playing with multiple injuries.

Before the game, Francona spoke facetiously about taking good care of Cabrera.

“I told Jim [Tigers manager Jim Leyland] that he should rest Miguel, only because I respect him so much,” Francona said.

Then he added, “I put [his] stats as far away as possible. I don’t want to see them.”

ROSTER MOVE — Left-handed reliever Scott Barnes was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and placed on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist.

FARM FACTS — Trevor Bauer (6-7, 4.15 ERA) gave up two runs and four hits, walking seven in five innings, as Columbus lost to Louisville 2-1.

— Sheldon Ocker



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