Smoke signals

• Francona has not made a decision on which player will serve as the temporary leadoff man while Bourne (left hamstring) is on the disabled list. Francona did note on Tuesday that he really values on-base percentage near the top of in the order.

"That's important," Francona said. "I think we value on-base percentage up in the order as opposed to speed. Having both is great. If you had to have one or the other, I think I would take the on-base."

• Indians outfielder David Murphy headed to the Minor League side Tuesday to hit "as much as he wants," according to Francona. Through 14 Cactus League games this spring, Murphy has hit just .163 (7-for-43) for the Tribe. Francona is not overly concerned with the preseason slump.

"He'll probably be the guy that's hot coming out [of the gate]," Francona said. "We're trying to get him some more at-bats, and he's really diligent in that area. I just know that the first day, second day into the season, Spring Training is out the window."

• Francona started Michael Brantley in eight different lineup positions last season, taking advantage of the left fielder's high contact rate and willingness to hit anywhere in the order. The manager is not sure if he will use the same approach with Brantley this season.

"I don't know," Francona said. "I've kind of liked where he's hit in the lineup this spring. He's hit fifth. Brantley can hit anywhere, because he's a good hitter. And he's going to make your lineup look better wherever he hits. The one thing, when he moves around, we never ask him to hit different."

• Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, who projects to open the season in the fifth slot of the rotation, logged six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings in a Triple-A game Monday. Tribe closer John Axford threw 21 pitches and struck out the side in one inning of work.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.