Smoke signals

Smoke signals

• Indians sinkerballer Justin Masterson turned in seven shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over the Pirates on Friday and manager Manny Acta said Masterson's slider was as strong as it has been all season.

Masterson has been turning to the breaking pitch more this year, throwing it 22.4 percent of the time, compared to just 14.9 percent in 2011.

"Really, it's just mixing and matching," Masterson said. "It just kind of happens. There's certain starts where it's effective, so you keep using it. Sometimes, looking at them, too, some people call them sinker-sliders."

• Indians center fielder Michael Brantley entered Saturday's game riding a career-best 22-game hitting streak. It also represented the longest such run in the Majors this season. Brantley's 22-game streak is the longest for a Cleveland hitter since Casey Blake enjoyed a 26-game run in 2007.

• Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan was out of the lineup on Saturday after returning from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. Acta indicated that Hannahan will likely play on an every-other-day basis for his first week back, after a bout with lower back and left calf issues.

• Triple-A Columbus placed infielder Andy LaRoche on the seven-day disabled list on Saturday with a left shoulder strain. The Clippers also added first baseman/outfielder Matt LaPorta to their roster. LaPorta was optioned to Triple-A by the Indians on Wednesday.

Quote to note
"I think it all depends on which players are available and which players we'd be bringing back. I certainly feel we have enough talent in our farm system to execute a trade if there are any trades out there."
--Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, when asked if he will be aggressive in his efforts to pull off a major deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline