"He's doing much better," Francona said. "He showed up and it's loosening up a lot. He's kind of working into some activities. He'll do more baseball activities [Friday] with an eye toward, I think Saturday might be a little ambitious, but I think Sunday is [a possibility].
"Again, you have to see how he does -- but I think he's well on his way to not being a two-week thing. I think he's going to be a couple days."
The 28-year-old Cabrera exited Monday's game in Minnesota with back spasms and, as insurance, Cleveland promoted infielder Jose Ramirez from Triple-A on Wednesday. Utility man Mike Aviles played shortstop for the Indians on Tuesday, and Ramirez handled the shortstop duties on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Through 94 games this season, Cabrera has hit .247 with nine home runs, 22 doubles, 39 RBIs and 52 runs scored for Cleveland.
"He started doing some movements and he did a lot of stuff in the training room," Francona said of Cabrera's progress on Thursday. "[Friday] will be a little bit more aggressive, and then hopefully -- depending on how he reacts to that -- he'll just continue to ramp up."
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.