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Smoke signals


• The Indians are in the process of neogitating a new Minor League contract with starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was released from his previous deal on Sunday. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said he is in talks with agent Scott Boras and hopes to have an agreement within the next few days to keep Matsuzaka in the Tribe's farm system.

"The hope would be that we can get this done and let him go pitch," Indians manager Terry Francona sad. "I actually told him, I said, 'It'll be fun to watch you get back to being Dice-K.' I reminded him of who he was. I remember in his first year, when he gave up runs, it was like a surprise. He had a look about him. He was Dice-K.

"I would like to see him get that feeling back, because as an organization, we'd be getting another top-flight pitcher."

• On Monday, the Indians released veteran reliever Matt Capps from the Minor League contract he signed with the club on Jan. 31. Similar to Matsuzaka, Cleveland can now avoid paying Capps a $100,000 retention bonus if he re-signs and accepts a Minor League assignment. The Indians have maintained interest in keeping the former closer in the fold.

"We're trying to work through the same thing with Matt," Antonetti said. "We have interest in keeping him in the organization, but we would have to sign him to a new contract. We're trying to do that."

• The Indians have told left-hander David Huff and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who are both out of Minor League options, that they are not in the team's plans for the start of the season. Carrera was designated for assignment on Monday, removing him from the 40-man roster. Antonetti said he was trying to find a trading partner for both players.

"For Ezequiel and David," Antonetti said, "we've informed both guys that they, at this point, are unlikely to make the Opening Day roster unless something unexpected happens. We will work to try to place them with another organization."

• All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has missed the past two games due to a sore back and Francona indicated that he would likely sit out on Tuesday as well. Cleveland will re-evaluate Cabrera on Wednesday morning and "go from there," said the manager.

• First baseman Chris McGuiness will not be on the Indians' Opening Day roster, but the team would like to keep the Rule 5 Draft pick in its farm system. Cleveland will probably try to work out a deal with Texas in order to avoid being required to return McGuiness to the Rangers.

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.

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