Smoke signals

• Sunday's game against the Cubs in Mesa was the Tribe's third opportunity to try out Major League Baseball's new instant-replay system. In the two previous instances with replay available, Francona has elected not to challenge any plays. He has said before he doesn't intend to use any opportunity as a practice run unless the situation truly calls for it.

"I don't want to force the issue," Francona said. "I don't think that makes any sense. I understand the rules. When the season starts, it's going to be different, regardless, because we're playing for keeps. I don't think we need to force the issue. If it's necessary, we'll try it. If it's not, we won't."

Francona said if replay were available, he would have requested a review of the play at the plate when Mike Aviles was thrown out in the second inning Saturday. The Indians' games Monday and March 24 against the Reds in Goodyear are the team's other two Cactus League games with instant replay available.

• Young right-hander Trevor Bauer pitched in a Minor League game Saturday, and Francona said it was a step forward after Bauer's last outing when he was tagged for seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks in two innings.

"Some pitches were up, but immediately after he threw one up, he threw the next one down," Francona said. "I would say it was a step in the right direction. ... We're going to figure it out together. I just wanted him to understand that. I don't want him to feel like he's on an island, and he doesn't have to be."

• Francona said outfielder Nyjer Morgan was going to stretch and go through morning drills Sunday, taking another step toward getting back into Cactus League games.

• Rotation candidates Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar will split Wednesday's Cactus League game against the A's. Carrasco is scheduled to throw five innings and Salazar four innings.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.