CLEVELAND -- Indians starter Zach McAllister was back on the mound at Progressive Field on Friday. It was only a simulated setting with Class A hitters in the batter's box, but Cleveland was nonetheless encouraged by what it saw from the right-hander.
McAllister, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with what the Indians have described as a lower back strain, worked through 60 pitches in a simulated game prior to Friday's game against the Rockies. Barring a setback, the righty could be cleared for a Minor League rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday.
"He's obviously feeling healthy. His execution was unbelievable," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "He felt really comfortable with where he was at. We'll plan on a bullpen session and kind of plan from there. We'll send him out on a rehab if he continues to feel good."
Callaway said the Indians had McAllister throw 30 fastballs without a break before beginning to mix in his other pitches over the simulated game's final 30 throws, which included a break in the middle. Class A Lake County batters Shane Rowland and Brian Ruiz stood in to give McAllister some hitters for the workout.
If everything goes according to plan, the 26-year-old McAllister would throw off a mound in a bullpen session on Monday. The right-hander could then make a Minor League rehab start on Wednesday, when Lake County is the lone affiliate playing a home game. McAllister could potentially be slotted back into Cleveland's rotation after that one outing.
On the season, McAllister has gone 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA through 10 starts for the Indians, who saw the right-hander go 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 starts in 2013. After opening this season 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA through four starts, during which he held opponents to a .655 OPS in 23 2/3 innings, McAllister went 0-4 with a 9.51 ERA in the six starts (.919 opponents' OPS in 23 2/3 innings) leading up to the DL stint.
"He just couldn't get the ball down," Callaway said. "When he was going good, he kept the ball down and was getting ahead down in the zone. Those last few starts, he was just up, up, up and it led to a lot of pitches. He was slowing down and wasn't finishing his pitches.
"[The trip to the DL] was probably an opportune time for him -- the way he pitched his last few outings -- to step back, get where he wanted to be health-wise and probably mentally, too."
Brantley hits in record 19th straight at home
CLEVELAND -- Hot-hitting Tribe outfielder Michael Brantley has authored a new entry in the Cleveland record books.
With a double in the fifth inning of Friday night's 5-2 win over the Rockies, Brantley extended his home hitting streak to 19 games, which is the longest of any Indians batter since Progressive Field opened in 1994. He also joins a cast of five other batters who have hit safely in the park 19 straight times, led by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and his active 22-game streak that began in 2009.
"I think he's kind of earned where he's hitting," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Brantley, who has hit third in the lineup for much of the season. "He's done such a good job with it that I don't want to move him. His value last year besides what he did with the bat was being able to lead off, he hit everywhere. And it really helped us ... In my opinion, it helps keep some stability in your lineup when you're not moving everybody around."
Miguel Dilone owns the best all-time home mark in franchise history with a 27-game streak in 1980.
Brantley has been one of the most consistent hitters not just in the Indians lineup, but in all of baseball. His performance against the Rockies extended his current overall hitting streak to 15 games, during which he has hit .383 with seven extra-base hits, and he also had two other streaks of 11 games this year.
Injured Santana, Swisher making progress
CLEVELAND -- Concussions tend to be difficult to diagnose. Their effects can linger, and clearing a player to return after suffering one is a structured, step-by-step process. Carlos Santana can attest.
The Indians' third baseman has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms since Sunday when he was plunked in the facemask by a foul tip, and he wound up missing all three games of this week's series with the White Sox. On Tuesday, the team placed him on the seven-day disabled list after it was determined his headache was not necessarily illness-related.
"The doctor didn't even really know. The doctor was at first [saying] concussion. Then after he examined him, he's like, 'He might be sick,'" Indians manager Terry Francona said. "On the second day, when the fever starts to go away but he still had the headaches and the light, it became obvious that we better treat it like that, because the other end of the spectrum is you play a guy, and that's not good."
Santana said he was feeling dizzy and had difficulty sleeping. However, he also noted that he felt much better on Friday.
"I don't feel uncomfortable like two days ago. Right now I feel much better," Santana said.
Santana will now begin the process of getting medically cleared to return to the field. In addition to feeling symptom-free, he will also have to reacquaint himself with the bright lights of a baseball stadium, which the team plans to address by bringing him into the dugout for part of Friday night's tilt with the Rockies.
"He's going to stay for three innings tonight, sit in the dugout, by plan, then come back in [the clubhouse]," Francona said. "As long as he tolerates everything, we'll keep increasing that. It may not seem like a big thing, but again, got to go steps."
Santana, batting just .159/.327/.301 this season, had four hits in his last 12 at-bats before the injury.
Fellow injured batter Nick Swisher, meanwhile, has begun rehabbing his knee by taking part in some cross-training. The team has refrained from having him take any swings, but hopes he can progress beyond the pool by Monday.
"Everything he's doing right now is in the water," Francona said. "They want to get him symptom-free, and I think he's getting towards that. Obviously, the water takes the load off what you're doing."
Quote to note
"He kept throwing it where he wanted to, and worked ahead in the count, and had movement on the ball down and was mixing in a changeup and a breaking ball. He was really good. That was really encouraging. When you start reaching into other starters [from the Minors] and they pitch well, it makes you feel good about a lot of things."
--Indians manager Terry Francona, on lefty T.J. House's start against the White Sox on Wednesday
• Entering Friday's action, only four true left-handed hitters in the Majors boasted at least a .300 batting average to go along with at least 30 RBIs. Three of them -- Cleveland's Michael Brantley (.310/39) and Colorado's Charlie Blackmon (.314/33) and Justin Morneau (.312/33) -- will be featured during this series. Seattle's Robinson Cano (.327/31) is the fourth.
• Utility man Elliot Johnson, who was sent outright to Triple-A Columbus by the Indians on May 8, finished Thursday's game on the mound for the Clippers, recording two outs and allowing one hit in an 18-9 loss to Charlotte. Johnson also went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in the defeat as Columbus' first baseman. Johnson has hit .286 through 18 games since being sent to Triple-A.
• Outfield prospect Tyler Naquin, who was selected in the first round (15th overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft by the Indians, churned out a season-high four hits for Double-A Akron in a 16-4 win over Bowie on Thursday. On the year, Naquin is hitting .296 with 10 stolen bases, 13 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and 35 runs through 50 games.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.