The Boston Red Sox have the worst record in major league baseball at 2-10. Perhaps they need a pep talk from Josh Reddick’s dad Kenny.
Last year with Pawtucket, Josh struggled for the first three-and-a-half months of the season. When the All-Star break arrived in mid-July, Reddick was batting .207 with a .255 OBP in 71 games.
“I went home and just enjoyed the time with family and friends,” Reddick said. “I literally turned my phone off for two days – I didn’t want to even think about baseball. Me and my dad sat down and talked and he said, ‘Stop caring so much.’ That was the biggest thing for me. I stopping worrying about the results and that’s when things turned around for me. I’m trying to keep that same mindset.”
After the All-Star break, Reddick batted .351 with 10 HR in his final 43 games. In his first 8 games this year, the 24-year-old outfielder is batting .367/.486/.567 with 3 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBI.
“I’m not worrying about the power numbers and I’m not trying to hit the long ball as much,” Reddick told me. “Even the walks are up a little bit which is a good sign. I’m just trying to do whatever I can do to take my mind and the fans’ minds off that horrible start that I had last year.”
Josh batted leadoff in his first three starts this year and went 2-for-12. Since being moved to the third spot in the order, Reddick is 9-for-18 (.500) with 5 walks (.609 OBP).
“My biggest comfort zone is getting out of that leadoff spot,” Reddick said. “I was never really a fan of the leadoff spot, but what can you do if the Red Sox want you to get more at-bats? I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in the three-hole, so maybe that’s got a little bit to do with it.”
While it has been widely speculated that Ryan Kalish will replace J.D. Drew as the Red Sox right fielder next year when Drew’s contract expires, Reddick is also a legitimate candidate to win the job.
“I hope so,” Josh said. “I can’t get my mind set on it too much, but hopefully I can show those guys up in Boston that I’m ready. I feel like I’m ready to be up there every day, whether it be with them or somebody else. But right now, I’m trying to not look too far ahead and I’m just trying to swing the bat well down here.”
Mission accomplished so far. Kenny Reddick’s words of wisdom continue to pay off.
* * * * *
Friday was the final day of the PawSox 7-game road trip. Early in the week, my 4-year-old Sam asked my wife Peg the following question: “If I wrote Daddy a note, could we send it to him on the road?”
She said sure and the note arrived on Thursday at our hotel in Syracuse.
As you can see, Sam hasn’t quite grasped the concept of writing in sentences yet, so the note is basically a long strand of letters. But I took a pen and paper and was able to decipher the code. Here goes:
Hey Daddy. I am sending a note to you. Do you know how many years old Yoda is? I will tell you. 900. Love, Sam. How is your trip? May you bring me a surprise?
How great is that? The best letter that I’ve ever received.
* * * * *
The PawSox snapped a 3-game losing streak with an 8-2 win at Syracuse on Thursday. Home plate ump D.J. Reyburn had a tight strike zone and the PawSox took advantage by drawing 11 walks.
That helps explain why Andrew Miller’s control was better than his stats indicated. The PawSox starter worked 4 shutout innings, allowing 1 hit with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. He left the game after throwing 82 pitches, but would have lasted more than 4 innings if the strike zone had been more generous. The 25-year-old lefty hit 96 mph on the stadium radar gun.
Pawtucket opens a 6-game homestand on Saturday night at 6:05 with the start of a 2-game series against Buffalo. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 5:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
And don’t forget “PawSox Insider” on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3. This week’s guests include PawSox hitting coach Chili Davis, former major league pitcher Steve Grilli (the losing pitcher in the longest game in baseball history), and former PawSox pitcher Charlie Zink.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.
If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard
And I’ve finally joined Facebook. Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.