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Reddick is getting familiar

Rookie showing look of a winner

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis goes airborne to snag this ball in the fourth inning of Boston’s 4-3 win in Minneapolis. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis goes airborne to snag this ball in the fourth inning of Boston’s 4-3 win in Minneapolis. (Hannah Foslien/ Getty Images)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 10, 2011

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MINNEAPOLIS - It has been nearly two months since Josh Reddick was called up from the minors to join the Red Sox, long enough for people on the streets of Boston to stop and wish him well.

One problem: Folks think he’s Clay Buchholz.

Like Buchholz, Reddick is tall, wears his hair long, and often sports a baseball cap turned backward and sunglasses. That has led to fans mistaking him for Buchholz.

“I just go with it. I told Clay that I should start signing autographs in his name so people think he’s the best guy in the world,’’ Reddick said before the Sox beat the Twins, 4-3, last night. “It might make him even more popular.’’

Getting an autograph from Reddick would be just fine, too. The rookie outfielder is hitting .329 with five home runs and 23 RBIs over 48 games. He was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter last night.

Now that teams have had a chance to scout him, Reddick is finding that pitchers are working him differently and he has been forced to adjust.

“I had been pulling the ball most of he year, so now they’re pitching me away a lot more and giving me more off-speed pitches,’’ he said. “I have to learn to keep my hands back and use the whole field. I’m always trying to pick up on those kind of things.’’

A good example came Sunday against the Yankees when Phil Hughes started him off with a curveball in the 10th inning. Reddick drove it to left field for a walk-off single.

“It works both ways. They see more of me but I also see more of them. You try to beat them with your mental approach and make sure you don’t miss that one mistake. We get a lot of help. You get video, you have scouts telling us face-to-face what to expect. Nothing helps more than the video. We get a lot of information.’’

Reddick likes knowing what a pitcher throws and what his velocity has been. That allows him to react to pitches. He does not try to guess what a pitcher will throw in a certain situation.

“I’m not a big fan of sitting on a certain pitch. Say he throws a 2-1 curveball 90 percent of the time and I’m waiting for that. If he throws a fastball, I can’t hit that,’’ Reddick said. “I look for a fastball and react to everything else.’’

Reddick spent parts of the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Sox. This is his first extended stretch in the majors.

“It’s a blast,’’ he said. “Every kid grows up dreaming of winning the World Series and with the group of guys we have, we have a chance. It’s a great organization to be a part of.’’

The only big lifestyle change for Reddick was that he sent his dog home to Georgia during the All-Star break. Baxter is an American bulldog named after Ron Burgundy’s dog in “Anchorman.’’

“I miss my dog. He kept me occupied when I wasn’t playing,’’ Reddick said. “But I don’t have a whole lot of complaints right now. I try not to overdo it too much. Just show up at the ballpark every day ready to play.’’

Reddick said the walkoff single against the Yankees is the highlight of his brief career.

“It doesn’t get any better than that, unless I had hit a homer,’’ he said. “Everybody wanted to hug me and Josh [Beckett] poured a beer on my head. I opened my phone and I had 32 text messages and eight missed calls. People were excited.’’

But by the time he got on the team flight to Minnesota, Reddick fell asleep.

“I just crashed,’’ he said. “As soon as we took off, I was asleep. That was a long day.’’

Ortiz gets one back David Ortiz was given an RBI back by Major League Baseball, which reviewed the decision official scorer Charles Scoggins made Aug. 3.

Ortiz was initially given a two-run single. But Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher, trying to protect Carlos Carrasco’s ERA, complained, saying that left fielder Austin Kearns bobbled the ball and that allowed Kevin Youkilis to score from second.

The Sox contended that Youkilis was running the whole way. Scoggins sided with the Indians and gave Ortiz one RBI.

Ortiz made an issue of the decision the day after when he burst into Terry Francona’s pregame press conference and voiced a profane complaint.

Cover boy Dustin Pedroia is a subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story this week, a first for him.

“I guess it’s cool . . . It’s exciting,’’ he said. “I’m definitely going to get one of them blown up. That would be cool.’’

Francona’s reaction?

“Sports Illustrated for Animals?’’ he said.

The cover refers to Pedroia as the “heart of the Red Sox.’’ But he said either Jacoby Ellsbury or Adrian Gonzalez is the most valuable player on the team.

“I’d vote for Gonzo and Ells. They’re having great years, man,’’ Pedroia said. “From start to finish, they’ve produced and played great. Either one of them will do. But I think the main goal is to try and win the World Series.’’

Ellsbury, Gonzalez, and Pedroia are all MVP candidates. That’s a debate Francona will pass on.

“I hope at the end of the year, that’s somebody’s problem,’’ he said. “That means something went well. That’s part of the reason we’re doing well, we have guys in the mix of that conversation legitimately.’’

Pedroia also took the opportunity to make a plug for the Red Sox to sign Ortiz to a contract extension.

“We love David around here. He’s been so great for so long for this organization. He’s got so many big hits. I can’t imagine him playing for somebody else,’’ he said.

“We love David; we want David here. Everyone wants David here. He wants to be here. The business side of baseball, it works itself out. The kind of year he’s having, it definitely puts pressure on the organization to sign him back.’’

Drew progressing J.D. Drew could take batting practice in the cage today or Friday in Seattle. He is working his way back from a shoulder injury . . . Bobby Jenks, who spent the weekend in the hospital with an intestinal ailment, was released and could return to workouts today. He is on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back . . . Outfield prospect Ryan Kalish was 2 for 4 with a double in his first game back with Pawtucket since suffering a shoulder injury that cost him 3 1/2 months. He spoke to Francona a few days ago. “He’s doing well. It’s been kind of a long haul for him,’’ Francona said. “He needs to play.’’ If Kalish can return to form, he could help the Sox as a September call up. “Hope so,’’ Francona said. “Sure, he knows how to play the game.’’ . . . Alfredo Aceves is the first pitcher in history to win 22 of his first 24 decisions. The righthander, 8-1 this season, picked up his latest win Monday night.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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