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Francona can live with K's as long as runs follow


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- There could be a steady breeze in Cleveland this summer and Lake Erie might not be the only thing to blame. The Indians are anticipating a high volume of strikeouts from their hitters this season.

As long as the team creates runs, it can live with the whiffs.

"We're going to have some. That's the way it is," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Now, the one nice thing that's changed over the winter is we've acquired so much speed that we should be able to manufacture some runs. We are, we're going to strike out a lot. We have guys that strike out.

"There's going to be periods where the team is in a funk or whatever, and you're going to see a lot of strikeouts. But the good side of that is we have some guys that really can run."

Over the offseason, Cleveland acquired Drew Stubbs (166 strikeouts in 2012), Mark Reynolds (159), Michael Bourn (155) and Nick Swisher (141). The franchise's record for players with at least 140 strikeouts in a single season is two (Jhonny Peralta and Grady Sizemore in both 2006 and '07).

Stubbs and Bourn offer the potential to steal 30-plus bases. Swisher and Reynolds have the ability to possibly launch between 20-30 home runs apiece.

Last season, the Indians struck out 1,087 times as a team, marking the third-fewest whiffs in the American League. The Tribe's projected 2013 starting lineup combined for 1,013 strikeouts last season. The other part of the equation is that Cleveland only scored 667 runs last year, representing the second-lowest total in the AL.

"Ultimately what matters is how many runs you produce," Francona said. "Certainly, it's nice to have guys in your batting order that, with like a runner on third in a tight game, can put the bat on the ball. But we don't want [someone like] Reynolds to shorten up, to put the ball in play at the expense of his power.

"He is what he is. He's going to go up there and try to whack it. Well, go ahead."

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