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8/30/2014 1:30 A.M. ET

Indians sign Branyan to Minor League deal

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians signed veteran infielder Russ Branyan to a Minor League contract on Friday.

Branyan, who will report to Triple-A Columbus, last appeared in the Majors in 2011 with the Angels. This season, he clubbed 19 home runs and posted a 1.043 OPS in 65 games with Tijuana in the Mexican League .

The 38-year-old has posted a .232/.329/.485 slash line over 14 Major League seasons.

Branyan was drafted by Cleveland in 1994 and spent his first five years with the organization. He rejoined the Indians for part of the 2010 season.

Gomes back from DL; Gimenez on paternity leave

KANSAS CITY -- Yan Gomes returned from the seven-day concussion disabled list for the start of the Indians' crucial series with the Royals on Friday night.

Gomes started at catcher and batted sixth in the first of three at Kauffman Stadium. He went 2-for-4 in the Tribe's 6-1 win.

"That was good, and I think he felt good physically. That was a really good sign," manager Terry Francona said. "It's always nice when guys get hits, but just to see him bouncing around and feeling good was kind of a relief."

Francona declared Gomes "good to go" before the opener.

"There's a lot of protocols -- he was examined last night, then they send it on to the league -- and it's pretty advanced, which it should be," Francona said.

In a corresponding roster move, newly-acquired catcher Chris Gimenez was placed on the paternity list.

Gimenez, who the Indians traded for on Saturday, went on the paternity list as a member of the Rangers on Aug. 4.

"I think there's been a few things going on there. I know he went back there once before, it's been not quite as easy as he wanted," Francona said. "He's new and I think there's some anxiety there. I said 'Hey, man, look. Go take care of your wife and your kid ... We'll figure it out."

Gomes went on the DL after sustaining a concussion on an unusual play on Saturday. The catcher was struck in the mask by a deflected ball, which glanced off the left arm of Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki.

Gomes entered Friday batting .284/.324/.477 in 109 games. Gomes' 17 home runs rank second among American League catchers.

Tribe starting growing trend with mustaches

KANSAS CITY -- With the monotony of late August setting in, the Indians are attempting to break it with mustaches.

A large chunk of the team eschewed the traditional rally beards for mustaches at the start of their three-game series with the Royals on Friday night. The idea originated with strength and conditioning coach Joe Kessler, and took off when Lonnie Chisenhall used Twitter to promote the event to his followers.

"[Kessler's] got an awesome mustache, kind of encouraged everyone to grow one, and now it's like a team-building exercise to get a little push here in August and September," Chisenhall said.

"A lot of other teams have little stuff that they do, so we think that this might be our niche," said Jason Kipnis, who's sporting a fu manchu with side burns.

Chisenhall wasn't sure about Kipnis' facial hair yet: "He's got the whole, like, 'I drive a Harley' look going on."'

But Chisenhall did list a few team favorites.

"I'm more of a fan of the creepy mustaches, so like Tyler Holt has a pretty nasty one, Mike Aviles' is pretty pencil thin," Chisenhall said. "I like the traditional mustache, but if somebody wears one that probably shouldn't have a mustache, it really helps."

Clean-shaven manager Terry Francona expressed his indifference.

"As long as they're not breaking the law," Francona said. "Cleanliness is not mandatory, I don't care if they shower, whatever, just as long as they play good baseball. Not real worried about the facial hair."

Giambi, Raburn contribute during rehab stints

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians appear close to getting back three players currently on the mend.

David Murphy, Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn -- all on the disabled list -- continue to make progress during their rehab assignments.

Giambi (left knee inflammation) and Raburn (sore right wrist) both contributed to Double-A Akron's 11-3 win over Trenton on Thursday. Raburn collected three hits and three RBIs, while Giambi ripped an RBI double.

Indians manager Terry Francona said that he expected Giambi to sit on Friday night, but he will return to the lineup on Saturday. Raburn is not eligible to return from the DL until Sept. 2.

"He'll keep playing with a day off mixed in," Francona said.

Murphy, who on Aug. 10 was placed on the DL with a sore right side, traveled with the team to Kansas City. Francona entertained the possibility of a rehab stint soon.

"He's doing well," Francona said. "Depending on the Minor League playoffs, stuff like that, he probably will be able to get a few games. It wouldn't surprise me."

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.