|Josh Reddick receives kudos from DeMarlo Hale after the rookie clubbed his first career homer. (Joe Giza/ Reuters)|
A bloody good addition
Rookie Reddick gets into the flow
BALTIMORE - Josh Reddick didn’t feel as nervous yesterday as he had earlier in the weekend, his first in the major leagues, but he confronted a different problem. In the second inning, he put his hand to face and realized he had a bloody nose.
“Pretty unexplainable,’’ Reddick said. “I haven’t had that problem in the last few years. I don’t know where it came from.’’
The bloody nose is typically a problem of youth, but then Reddick is only 22, the youngest player to wear a Red Sox uniform this season. Yesterday, Reddick continued to make clear that the major leagues are not over his head. He drilled two more hits, including his first career home run, an opposite-field shot in the third inning.
“He did about everything,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “He squared up about six balls. He had a bloody nose. I think you can see why guys in the organization have kind of raved about what he can do. He’s got some thunder in his bat.’’
In his first two major league starts, Reddick has directly contributed to a pair of Red Sox victories. Before his call-up, Reddick did not assume he would reach the majors by next year, let alone this season.
“Definitely not in my mind,’’ Reddick said. “That’s kind of the mind-set you need to have. Don’t set your goals too high. You’re just going to be disappointed in the end if it doesn’t work out for you.
“I was satisfied in Portland, just doing my job there. If it happened, it happened. And sure enough, it did.’’
Reddick spent spring training at the major league camp, where he showed the same surprising power he is displaying now. At 6 feet 2 inches, 180 pounds, he does not fit a power hitter’s profile. But his whippet-quick bat makes him a home run threat. In one at-bat yesterday, he drove a ball to the warning track with a swing that was nearly one-handed.
“You want to make a really good impression,’’ Reddick said. “That’s the biggest one you’re going to make.’’
In the top of the first, Drew cleared the loaded bases by lacing a two-out double to right-center. Mike Lowell followed with a single to left, and Drew scored from second despite running at about half-speed, clearly affected.
In the bottom of the inning, Rocco Baldelli emerged from the dugout and took over for Drew in right field.
Drew felt his groin tighten before the game after he hit in the cage, but he wanted to give the game a shot, especially with left fielder Jason Bay getting the day off.
“The key was, going into the game today, to play under control, see how it went,’’ Drew said. “I didn’t overdo so I would set myself back. I came out of the game and told Tito, ‘It’s not going to be good if I go back out there.’ ’’
Drew isn’t certain he’ll be available tomorrow when the Red Sox play at Tampa Bay, but, “essentially, I didn’t do it any harm by playing,’’ Drew said. “Drive in three, score a run. It all worked out pretty well.’’
“It’s a little refresher,’’ Bay said. “You’re getting towards the last part of the season. These games get more magnified. You want to be more fresh. It works out well, I think.’’
The rest may help Bay recapture his early-season form. Bay has hit .173 since June 26, and his average has dropped to .252.
“I think guys do get worn down,’’ Francona said. “If he’s a little bit worn down - which I don’t disagree, because he plays so hard - but he shows up. You don’t see him giving at-bats away. There’s been some swing and miss, but if somebody makes a mistake, he’s liable to still whack it.
“He’ll get hot again. I think he’s been better lately. I think he’s hit some hard outs. He had a couple bang-bang plays at first and he was out. That’s just how it happens. I think he’s OK.’’
“I don’t think that any of us think that we can be at an 11-man staff for a long time,’’ Francona said. “Hopefully we can make it. We got in somewhat a semblance of order [Saturday] and we have a day off. But I don’t think any of us really want to do that. We’ll see how it goes. When you have an 11-man staff, you have to be open to flexibility. Because if we have a rough night, you’ve got to be ready to make a move.’’
Adam Kilgore can be reached at email@example.com