CHICAGO: Mark Reynolds is still waiting for his annual slow start.
The Indians’ regular designated hitter is batting .283 with seven home runs and 18 RBI in 60 at-bats.
Going into today’s 2 p.m. game, he was tied for the American League lead in homers with Chris Davis and J.P. Arencibia and tied for fourth in RBI with Miguel Cabrera.
There is no indication of a slow start in any of those numbers or rankings.
Moreover, Reynolds isn’t maintaining his usual high strikeout rate. He has gone down on strikes an average of once every 3.75 at-bats, compared to once every 2.87 at bats last season, which is closer to his norm.
“It’ll come,” Reynolds said Tuesday, referring to the inevitable ups and downs of the season. “That’s why you have to try and avoid the [emotional] peaks and valleys, stay on an even keel.
“It definitely helps your confidence to put up good numbers right away. It helps you settle into the season, so maybe you can keep the snowball going.”
There probably is no quantifiable reason why Reynolds is off to a strong start at the plate, but his role is different with the Tribe than it was when he played for the Orioles and Diamondbacks, with whom he played first and third base.
When he signed to come to Cleveland, Reynolds was expected to play first, but the subsequent signing of Nick Swisher overloaded the outfield, and Swisher was moved to first.
Reynolds was assigned the DH job, but manager Terry Francona assured him he would log time at first, which he has. Being a DH isn’t Reynolds’ dream job, but he has accepted it and tried to make the most of it.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Tito has done a good job of getting me on the field. And I’m fine with the DH. It’s just that I feel more into the flow of the game when I’m on the field.”
What does Reynolds do when his teammates are playing defense?
“I stay loose by going into the cages,” he said. “I’ll take a few swings. Stay warm, keep a little sweat going.”
Reynolds does not think the switch to designated hitter had anything to do with avoiding a sluggish start at the plate.
For the first time this season, the Tribe was able to unleash its running game Monday night against the White Sox, stealing three bases in four attempts.
Reynolds is not one of the players counted on to run, but a teammate could inadvertently take the bat out of his hands by stealing second and leaving first base open. Reynolds is more than willing to take that chance. He wants a runner at second or third.
“As long as someone is in scoring position, it’s a good thing,” said Reynolds, whose job it is to drive in runs. “I don’t think they would do that [walk him] anyway.”
Too much rain
White Sox officials called Tuesday’s game at about 3 p.m. because of lingering showers. The game has not been rescheduled, but the Tribe has two more trips to Chicago.
Pitching matchups for today: Zach McAllister against Jose Quintana at 2 p.m.
Corey Kluber’s start is being skipped, but he might start Monday in the wrapup of the series against the Royals in Kansas City.
Akron infielder Giovanny Urshela has been named by the Tribe as its Minor League Player of the Week.
Urshela, 21, batted .333 with four doubles, one homer and seven RBI last week. For the season, he is batting .281 with five doubles, one homer and eight RBI.
Joe Martinez pitched six scoreless innings, giving up four hits and a walk, as Columbus defeated Toledo 3-0. Mike McDade had three hits. ... Cody Anderson (3-0, 1.64 ERA) threw six shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks in Carolina’s 3-0 win over Potomac. Bryson Myles hit his third home run of the season. ... Luigi Rodriguez had three hits and two RBI and Jorge Martinez doubled twice in Lake County’s 8-4 loss to West Michigan.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.