Terry Francona's players are coming back to him. Now he has to make them fit in the Indians' ever-evolving 25-man roster.

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was activated on Wednesday after being on the disabled list since June 4 with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Cabrera, according to Francona, will be joined Thursday by closer Chris Perez, who has been out since May 27 with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

Cabrera came back much faster than the Indians anticipated. They felt he might be back near the end of this trip, but returned in just over three weeks. Cabrera used his quick return as a way of avoiding a rehab assignment.

"But I told him, I'm not going to start out playing him five days in a row," said Francona. "He agreed to that."

Francona had Cabrera hitting second between Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis in Wednesday night's lineup.

After Cabrera was activated, Francona added a bit of a surprise during his daily media session by saying Perez would join the team Thursday for the series finale. Obviously, the Indians were impressed with Perez's inning of work Tuesday night in his rehab appearance with Class A Mahoning Valley.

"Chris did a good job," said Francona. "I know it's popular thinking that CP has his own opinions and everything, but he couldn't have better with us in communicating, doing what we asked and being honest [about the condition of his shoulder]."

Like Cabrera, Perez returns with strings attached.

"If we get a save opportunity, he'll pitch," said Francona. "But if we go a day or two or whatever without one, he will also pitch."

Perez's return will allow the bullpen to revert back to a more normal mode of business. Vinnie Pestano, 4-for-4 in save situations as Perez's replacement, will go back to the set-up role.

"What's going to be nice is when we get everybody back and everybody is on all cylinders," said Francona.

Perez is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 17 games, converting six saves in eight chances. The opposition is hitting .231, .200 (7-for-35) by lefties and .267 (8-for-30) by righties.

To make room for Cabrera, infielder John McDonald was designated for assignment. The Indians acquired McDonald from Pittsburgh on June 10 for cash or a player to be named.

Cabrera was hitting .254 (52-for-205) with 18 doubles, two triples, five homers and 25 RBI. McDonald, 38, went 0-for-7 with the Tribe, serving mostly as a defensive replacement at third base. McDonald spent his first seven years in the big leagues with the Indians. They drafted him in the 12th round in 1996.

GM Chris Antonetti was asked if he would offer McDonald a job in the organization.

"Right now John wants to keep playing," said Antonetti. "If he doesn't get another big-league job, we'd certainly talk to him."