Smoke signals

• Indians right fielder Drew Stubbs had been in a slump of late, hitting .114 (5-for-44) with no home runs, four RBIs and 19 strikeouts over his past 16 games entering Monday. During that span, Stubbs' season average has dropped to .225 from .261. Stubbs was hitting .202 with a .524 OPS against right-handers compared to .271 with a .830 OPS versus lefties.

"He's faced some tough righties," Francona said. "It's probably a little bit of everything. When you need that ball to drop, it doesn't. But, saying that, one night he struck out three times and then he caught a ball on the warning track. He gets it. He can help us in a lot of different ways. And, hitting down in the order, it's not as glaring."

• Teams have increasingly shifted the defense to play Indians catcher Carlos Santana to pull this season. Santana has responded with a handful of bunts in an effort to beat the shift and convince teams to play him more straight up. It remains to be seen whether Santana's bunt attempts will change the way teams have shifted with him at the plate.

"It'll be interesting. I'm sure it'll be team by team," Francona said. "I do think he's worked really hard at that. You can tell when it's not like a lucky attempt. He's laid down some really good bunts. You'll see his batting average improve because of that."

• Entering Monday's game, the Indians had produced 37 home runs from right-handed batters (fifth most in the American League and eighth most in the Majors). Cleveland had 38 homers from the right side of the plate in all of 2012, marking the fewest in the Major Leagues last season.

• Indians closer Chris Perez, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to tendinitis in his right rotator cuff, might be cleared to resume a throwing program in two to three days. Monday marked Perez's eighth straight day without throwing.

• Left-hander J.C. Romero has opted out of his contract with the Nationals and is in talks with the Indians about a Minor League deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Romero (on the Minor League disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis ) has not pitched since May 8, but posted a 2.84 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 games with Triple-A Syracuse this season. Romero, who turns 37 on Tuesday, has a 4.16 ERA in 680 career big league games between stints with the Twins, Phillies, Rockies, Cardinals, Red Sox, Angels and Orioles.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.