Reynolds striking down the number of strikeouts

Reynolds striking down the number of strikeouts

CLEVELAND -- The Indians knew that first baseman/designated hitter Mark Reynolds had the potential to provide power and run production when they added him to the fold over the winter. They were also accepting of Reynolds' history of striking out at a high rate.

But so far this season, Reynolds has drastically cut down the whiffs.

"Well, he's had a really good first month," manager Terry Francona said. "Now, again, the hope is that the first month turns into a really good year."

Entering Monday's game against the A's, Reynolds was hitting .296 (his career average is .237 over seven seasons) with nine home runs, 26 RBIs and 27 strikeouts over 113 plate appearances in 27 games.

Reynolds' strikeout rate of 23.9 percent (strikeouts compared to total plate appearances) was by far the best of his career, and well below his career rate of 32.3 percent. Assuming he finishes with 662 plate appearances (his career high, set in 2009, when he had a Major League-record 223 strikeouts), he projects to have 158 strikeouts on the season.

"We were pretty excited about what we were getting," Francona said. "And the batting average isn't the most important statistic. We're looking for run production, and that's what he's given us a ton of. The quality of his at-bats has been tremendous from Day 1.

"There's going to be some swings and misses. That comes with it. Now, saying that, with two strikes there's been times when he's shortened up a little bit and hit the ball to right field, fouled off some pitches and then maybe hit a liner into center. I think that's why you see the higher batting average."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.