05/14/2013 8:15 PM ET
Francona impressed with Indians' chemistry
By Michael Radano / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Indians manager Terry Francona has liked what he has seen from his team since the first day of Spring Training. For a manager that has always remained on an even keel, he's not one to overemphasize a good or bad start and not one to put too much into a strong stretch of games.
With that said, the Indians entered Tuesday night's game at Citizens Bank Park just a half-game behind Detroit in the American League Central race, and they are looking like a long-term threat. That's the kind of attention a team that has won 13 of 16 can expect, even if they fall off that pace a bit.
"I don't think because [we had] a slow start [11-13 in April], that doesn't mean we're not jelling," Francona said. "That's when you recognize they do care about each other. It's when things aren't going right that chemistry and caring about each other comes into play.
"You don't get too carried away. ... You show up every day and play the game the way we are playing it."
Tribe relies on Reynolds at third after roster move
PHILADELPHIA -- Mark Reynolds has done a little bit of everything for the Indians this season, and his willingness to do so has been of great help to manager Terry Francona. Now, one day after the Indians optioned 24-year old Lonnie Chisenhall to Triple-A Columbus, Reynolds' role has become a little more defined.
"He'll certainly get the majority of the time," said Francona, who had Reynolds penciled in at third base for the second straight day. "It's one thing to put him there sparingly, but you don't want to run him into the ground. That's part of what makes this team so much fun to manage.
"Mark is a perfect example. He has played first, he's played third and he's been our designated hitter. He's done it willingly. It makes it kind of fun."
Reynolds has hit .279 this year with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. For the most part, he has done well in the 17 games he started at first, in which he has hit .331 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. In a smaller sample size at third, he has hit only .211 in seven games, but Francona sees those numbers improving with consistency.
"I think he likes third," Francona said. "I think in Spring Training, we asked him to play a game or two and he did it without questions because he likes it."
Of course, the Indians had hoped that Reynolds wouldn't have to play third this much if Chisenhall hadn't struggled mightily over 26 games, in which he hit just .213.
"He said he'd been worried since the first week about his run production," Francona said. "It kind of looked like that. It had snowballed on him. Now he goes to Triple-A and can take a deep breath, because he's going to be a huge part of this organization because he's young and he can grow.
"It happens. I went through it myself. You put too much pressure on yourself to do well."
• The Indians will pay close attention to right-handed pitchers Vinnie Pestano and Blake Wood on Wednesday, as both will appear in relief in rehab outings for Class A Lake County vs. Lansing at 11 a.m. ET
"[Pestano] wasn't down that long," Francona said. "He had done such a good job that we didn't have to put him on the DL [with right elbow tendinitis], but we felt it was in his best interest. Maybe he'll show a little rust, but he'll be good to go."
• Wednesday will mark the end of a 14-game, 13-day stretch for the Indians.
• The Indians lead the AL with 10 one-run wins this year. Since 2009, the Indians are 106-83 in one-run games, which is the third-best mark in the Majors.
Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.