Smoke signals

• The Indians allowed the Pirates to claim right-hander John Axford off trade waivers on Thursday, putting Pittsburgh on the hook for the remainder of his $4.5-million salary. General manager Chris Antonetti noted that Cleveland tried to make a trade, but the team ultimately felt the chance to give innings to younger arms outweighed acquiring a Minor Leaguer.

"We talked through a variety of alternatives with the Pirates," Antonetti said on Friday. "But I think what enabled us to make the [move] was our belief in some of the other guys that have come up and performed. C.C. Lee and Nick Hagadone, specifically, have come up and done a very good job."

• Designated hitter Nick Swisher (15-day disabled list) is scheduled to have his ailing right knee examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Antonetti said it is hard to know how much of Swisher's offensive struggles (.208/.278/.331 slash line in 97 games) can be attributed to the knee issues this season.

"I think it's been a big part of it," Antonetti said. "Maybe Nick only knows for certain how much and how long he's been battling through it beyond what would be typical for a season. There's no question that he's had some injuries and battled through and played with for a while. I'm sure it's had some impact on it."

• Outfielder and No. 5 prospect James Ramsey, who was acquired from the Cardinals on July 30 in exchange for starter Justin Masterson, went 5-for-5 with two doubles, one home run and four RBIs for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Ramsey has hit .314 with two homers, seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs through 13 games for the Clippers.

"He's made a great impression," Antonetti said. "All the things we had heard about him and his makeup and character before we acquired him, that's been reinforced in our time with him so far. We're excited that he's with us."

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.