BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox have gotten little when it comes to production in right field this season, but there could be a bright spot in the making as the baseball season hits the half-way mark Friday night.
Josh Reddick has come up to majors and made the most of his opportunity, seizing every chance he can get to play ball.
“I’m not going to complain one bit,” Reddick said of his current platoon role. “I’m in the big leagues playing baseball; it’s always been my dream so I’m happy.”
Reddick has been with the big-league Sox since the end of May, when he was recalled to replace the then-injured Darnell McDonald. He was only batting .230 at the time but led, and still leads, Pawtucket with 14 home runs and 36 RBI. What really impressed the Red Sox brass was his new-found patience at the plate.
After walking just 25 times in 144 games in 2010, Reddick drew 33 free passes in his first 52 games in 2011.
“It’s been tough to drive that into my brain because I never really did that growing up,” he said of his new approach at the plate. “Trying to learn the strategy they live by, and keep with it all year instead of just trying it for a month and if it doesn’t work get off the beaten path.”
“Swinging at good pitches has been the main thing, not chasing stuff outside the zone,” Reddick said.
Now he is up in the Majors contributing to a club that needed something, no anything, from right field. He is batting .444 with a homer and nine RBI in 14 games. He has four walks, more than he had in the 56 games he played for Boston over the previous two seasons.
Reddick is 7-for-14 on the current road trip. Although he does not really ask the veterans for much advice, he learns by watching them and how they approach the plate, before and after the game.
“I don’t normally talk to a whole lot of guys. I think I learn by watching their at-bats and then watching it on the computer. A great guy to watch is Adrian Gonzalez,” said Reddick. “That’s one guy you can idolize, between him and David (Ortiz), you can watch them through two at-bats and be just fine; see what they’re doing. That’s one thing I take my pride on, watching those guys and learning through them.”
Last year, he was called up on three different occasions. After a quick stint in April, Reddick got another chance in June. He played in eight games, hitting .158 and drew just one walk. He was sent back down when the team saw he was not ready, instead going with Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald.
“More of the development in my eyes was seeing I got passed by two different guys,” said Reddick. “That was a big wakeup call, realizing they would find someone to do the job if I didn’t. I always heard they would do it, but seeing it happen was a bigger development stage for me.”
Now the left-hander is making sure he makes the decision much more difficult for Theo Epstein and Co. when Carl Crawford is activated from the DL in the coming week. He will likely remain the Red Sox fourth outfielder, but could see some more playing time if he keeps his play up.
“Last year I made it a little too easy for them, hopefully I can keep it difficult for them,” he said.