CLEVELAND -- One month into this season, Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana have developed into a dynamic offensive duo for the Indians.
It seemed fitting that in the first inning of the final game of April, Santana and Reynolds each launched two-run home runs, sending Cleveland on its way to a 14-2 romp against the Phillies on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
For Reynolds, the blast marked his team-leading eighth of the season, giving him the most in a season's first month by an Indians hitter since Juan Gonzalez hit eight in 2001. Reynolds' 22 RBIs are also the most in April since Gonzalez collected 26 in the first month of '01.
"I've had months where I've hit eight or more -- never at the beginning of the season," said Reynolds, who hit .143 with no homers and three RBIs last April with the Orioles. "It just feels good to get off to a good start and to be able to put some good [at-bats] together, and not dig myself a hole so early in the season. Hopefully I can just keep playing and stay consistent."
Entering Wednesday, Reynolds was hitting .301 with a .368 on-base percentage, a .651 slugging percentage and a 1.019 OPS through 20 games. His April batting average marked his highest average in any single month (minimum 50 at-bats) since he hit .342 as a rookie in August 2007.
Santana entered Wednesday's action with a slash line of .389/.476/.722/1.198 to go along with five home runs, nine doubles, 12 walks, 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 20 games. He led the Majors in average and OPS, and turned in the highest April average for an Indians catcher in club history.
"I think he's done a lot of everything that I think sometimes goes unnoticed," manager Terry Francona said of Santana. "He's a switch-hitting catcher. He hits for power. He hits for average. He can take a walk. He can throw with anybody in the league. He can move to play first base seamlessly. There's so much to like. And as he grows as a young catcher, that'll make it even more impressive."
Giambi's hustle draws praise throughout clubhouse
CLEVELAND -- For all the power the Indians put on display Tuesday night, it was an infield single that dominated the conversation in the clubhouse a day later.
In the eighth inning of Cleveland's 14-2 rout of the Phillies on Tuesday, Jason Giambi pulled a pitch down the first-base line, where the baseball glanced off the glove of a lunging Ryan Howard. Giambi tore up the basepath and dove headfirst into first base, claiming an unlikely infield single.
"I felt like Mr. Potato Head," Giambi quipped. "My parts were going everywhere."
The Indians, who launched seven home runs in the victory, were up by a dozen runs at the time.
"That was better than any home run we hit," Indians left fielder Michael Brantley said Wednesday. "Just being around him and knowing him, he's a competitor. He's an awesome teammate. Just to see, in that situation, he was hustling down the line and a headfirst slide, it was just awesome."
Indians manager Terry Francona said after the win that the effort turned in by the 42-year-old Giambi on that play should be enough to inspire any ballplayer.
"You know what?" Francona said. "If you're a young player, and after you watch that, you don't run a ball out, you should be humiliated. Anybody in baseball. I was so [darn] excited. That's just a guy that cares."
Francona took it a step further while discussing the play on Wednesday.
"I think in one, quick 90-foot segment, he displayed what he's about," Francona said. "I don't know if you could see it, our dugout erupted. The last thing you ever want is for somebody to get hurt, but that showed how he feels toward the game of baseball. That's the best way I can put it.
"As he was running down to first, he had 24 other guys pushing him. That's a nice feeling."
Told of Francona's high praise, Giambi smiled.
"That's what I'm here for," Giambi said, "to try to set a good example for these kids and play the game hard and show them how to play hard. I'm coming to the ballpark and loving every minute of it."
Tribe options Hagadone to make room for Bauer
CLEVELAND -- Indians left-hander Nick Hagadone was the victim of a numbers game on Wednesday.
In need of a spot starter for Wednesday's series finale against the Phillies, Cleveland promoted right-hander Trevor Bauer from Triple-A Columbus and optioned Hagadone to the same affiliate to clear a spot on the big league roster. Hagadone had Minor League options and was the eighth man in the bullpen.
Indians manager Terry Francona said it was tough to send Hagadone down.
"We didn't want to do it, and we told him that," Francona said Wednesday. "We had a short visit with him last night and explained to him that, unfortunately right now, this is what we need to do. We don't want him to be in Triple-A. It wasn't because of anything he did. It was strictly that. I think he was disappointed, but I think he understood."
Due to Friday's rainout and Sunday's doubleheader in Kansas City, the Indians had no starting pitchers on regular rest for Wednesday's home game. It is likely that the 22-year-old Bauer -- who allowed one hit in five shutout innings with six walks in the Indians' 6-0 win-- will return to Triple-A following his outing, but Francona was not willing to speculate about that possibility.
With Hagadone out of the picture -- at least temporarily -- Cleveland has just one left-hander, Rich Hill, in the bullpen.
Hagadone has posted a 2.45 ERA in eight appearances, with only two hits allowed in 7 1/3 innings. The lefty has limited batters to a .091 average and struck out eight hitters compared to six walks.
• Francona stuck with his plan and held first baseman Nick Swisher (right shoulder soreness) out of the lineup Wednesday for the second game in a row. Coupled with Thursday's off-day, Francona is hoping Swisher will receive ample rest.
"We're obviously going to lean on him all year and for years to come," Francona said. "I think what will happen is he'll take [Wednesday] off and [Thursday], too, and then he'll come back Friday and feel really good."
• Francona said there is still no clear timetable on when sidelined center fielder Michael Bourn (right index finger) will begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Francona did note that pitcher Brett Myers (right elbow inflammation) will be re-evaluated this weekend in hopes of being cleared to initiate a throwing program.
• Ryan Raburn (two), Santana, Reynolds, Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs each launched home runs in Tuesday's 14-2 win over the Phillies. It marked the third time in team history the Indians had six different players hit a home run in the same game. It was also done on July 16, 2004, in Seattle and April 18, 2009, at Yankee Stadium.
• Cleveland's right-handed hitters accounted for 23 of the team's American League-leading 36 home runs, entering Wednesday. The Indians had a Major League-low 38 home runs from the right side of the plate in 2012 and did not collect their 23rd homer from a righty until the 112th game of the season.
• Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor, a first round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, enjoyed a stellar April with Class A Advanced Carolina. Lindor hit .341 with one homer, six doubles, three triples, seven stolen bases, 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored in 24 games. He posted a .406 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging percentage.
Quote to note
"Their ability to do what they've done has made the injuries and some of the playing short a little bit not really affect us. We haven't won as many games as we want, but that's not been the reason. They've allowed us to carry an extra pitcher for most of the time, because of their versatility."
-- Francona, on bench players Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn