Smoke signals

• One of Indians outfielder Michael Brantley's favorite memories from the All-Star Game festivities earlier this week came during the annual parade. Brantley, who was Cleveland's lone All-Star representative this summer, rode in the back of a pickup truck with his wife and 7-year-old stepson.

"I had all my family there," Brantley said. "My stepson enjoyed it. They gave him foam balls to throw out to the kids. He had a great time on the back of the truck. It was funny. It made me laugh. We had to tell him to slow down, because he was throwing every ball as fast as he could. Little memories like that you'lll always cherish."

• During Thursday's optional workout at Comerica Park, the Indians held a two-round home run derby to loosen things up. Right fielder David Murphy launched six long balls in the seven-out first round to reach the finals and then beat catcher Yan Gomes, 2-1, for the win.

"He put on a pretty good show," Francona said of Murphy. "That, and nobody else did anything."

• Earlier this week, the Indians named Class A (low) Lake County first baseman Nellie Rodriguez the organization's Minor League player of the week for the period of July 7-13. During that span, the 20-year-old Rodriguez hit .360 (9-for-25) with three home runs, one double, 10 RBIs, six runs scored and a 1.120 OPS in six games for the Captains.

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.