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Reynolds returns to lineup as slump persists

Reynolds returns to lineup as slump persists

Reynolds returns to lineup as slump persists

CLEVELAND -- Mark Reynolds' career has been filled with peaks and valleys. The Indians' designated hitter is currently trying to find his way out of a canyon.

Reynolds was back in the starting lineup Sunday after sitting Saturday for the first eight innings of the Tribe's 9-4 loss to the Tigers. Reynolds entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out, continuing his recent slump.

"It's just a confidence thing," Reynolds said. "You get in those funks and it's tough to get out. I've done it before, so I'm not freaking out or anything. I've just got to go back to square one and square a ball up, and hopefully things will turn for me."

Reynolds entered Sunday mired in an 0-for-20 spell that included 11 strikeouts over a span of six games. In his past 53 games, Reynolds hit .177 with a .273 on-base percentage and a .249 slugging percentage. In that span, he had four home runs, 18 RBIs and 74 strikeouts against 22 walks.

That is a drastic contrast to Reynolds' first 31 games, in which he posted a slash line of .291/.367/.645 to go along with 11 homers, 29 RBIs, 32 strikeouts and 14 walks. Reynolds averaged one strikeout per 3.4 at-bats during that stretch. In the 53 games since, he has one strikeout per 2.4 at-bats.

The recent strikeout rate is more in line with Reynolds' career, which has included an average of one whiff every 2.6 at-bats over 853 games. The designated hitter (and part-time first and third baseman) has seen his batting average drop to .220, below his career .235 mark from tours with Arizona, Baltimore and Cleveland.

"Pretty much everything is off," Reynolds said. "I pretty much had the worst four at-bats I've ever had [on Friday], and things start snowballing on you and it gets in your head. I've got to go back, get in the cage and work and get out of this thing."

Reynolds said he has been over-aggressive on inside pitches and has watched outside pitches go for strikes. Earlier this season, he did a better job of going with what the pitcher gave him, hitting outside offerings to the opposite field at a higher rate.

Right now, Reynolds is looking for anything to get him going again for the Tribe.

"It's a swinging bunt, a blooper, anything," Reynolds said. "It's like anything in life. Once it starts rolling the wrong way, it's tough to get out of it. I told you guys, it happens. It happens to the best of us. Hopefully I'll be laughing about this in a couple of weeks."

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

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