KANSAS CITY -- Mitch Talbot hasn't picked up a baseball since leaving Sunday's start with right shoulder inflammation. But Talbot does have a game of catch planned at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday.

"It's feeling better," Talbot said of the shoulder, which limited him to just three batters faced against the Twins.

Should it continue to feel better after the game of catch, Talbot will throw a bullpen session in Minnesota on Monday. This would put him on track to make his next scheduled start on Thursday against the Royals at Progressive Field.

In the meantime, Justin Masterson is filling in for Talbot, taking the spot start against the Royals on Saturday -- and then likely being shut down for the season. The Indians want to cap Masterson's innings somewhere around 180, and he's currently at 173.

As for Talbot, he said the shoulder soreness was in no way related to the back strain that landed him on the DL in late July/early August, thereby debunking any theories that a lingering issue with the back might have contributed to his 6.84 ERA in six starts since Aug. 14.

"The back thing's been gone a while," Talbot said.

Tribe claims Huffman from Yankees

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians filled their 40-man roster on Friday, plucking outfielder Chad Huffman off waivers from the Yankees and optioning him to Triple-A Columbus.

Huffman, 25, was a second-round selection by the Padres in the 2006 Draft and a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2009. But the Indians are his third organization in 2010. The Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Padres in April and designated him for assignment last week.

In 21 plate appearances for the Yankees this year, Huffman went 3-for-18 with two RBIs. In 104 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he batted .274 with 20 doubles, 10 homers and 45 RBIs.

Crowe's nest of hair getting longer

KANSAS CITY -- Bald heads have become fashionable in the Indians' clubhouse. Manager Manny Acta shaved his dome, as have right-hander Justin Masterson, catcher Chris Gimenez and first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., among others.

The manifestation of a mane, then, stands out. Chris Perez, who was rocking closer's hair even before he became a full-time closer, might have thought he had the market on long hair cornered. But outfielder Trevor Crowe has joined him in abstaining from the barber's chair.

Crowe had to think for a moment when asked the last time he actually got a haircut, before guessing that it must have been before Spring Training began way back in February.

It's kind of like my style of play," he said of his new look, which is growing by the day. "Not clean, unkempt, out of control. In college, I had it really long one year, but this is the longest I think it's ever been."

Crowe has begun to attract attention with his look. Just the other day, while he was in the on-deck circle, a fan yelled to him, "Get a hit, Joe Dirt!"

Alas, Crowe's look might prove to be short-lived. The offseason is looming, and his girlfriend will likely soon interject.

"She's going to say it has to get cut," Crowe said. "You wear a hat during the season, but, in the offseason, we're going to visit my family -- and I'm going to have to get it cut."

But Crowe is enjoying his look while it lasts.

"It's funny, too, because most people, when they have long hair, it gets curly," he said. "My hair is like angel hair pasta."

Worth noting

Fausto Carmona ranks second to David Price (0.82) among AL pitchers in September ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched) with a 1.13 mark. Carlos Carrasco, entering Friday's start against the Royals, ranked seventh, at 2.18. ... The Indians, as a team, ranked first in the AL in September ERA, with a 2.39 mark. ... The Tribe's second half ERA is 3.78, significantly down from a 4.64 showing in the first half. ... The 16-game hitting streak Michael Brantley took into Friday's game was the longest active streak in the big leagues and the longest by an Indians player since Ryan Garko hit in 17 straight in July 2007. ... For more on the Tribe, visit CastroTurf (http://castrovince.mlblogs.com).