SIMPLY REDD

     All Josh Reddick needed was a chance.  That’s all a lot of us ask for, the opportunity to show what we can do.  He had some chances while he was in the Sox organizaation, but now he is thriving as an everyday player with Oakland.  With closer Andrew Bailey on the disabled list, the A’s have clearly gotten the better of the deal that sent the Georgia native out west.  Reddick is thriving, with an average arouind .270, 14 home runs and nearly 30 RBI.  He loves his new life.  “Life in Oakland is great.  Playing every day.  I couldn’t be any happier.  Getting an opportunity to play, so that’s the important thing right now.”  Redd says that knowing he is going to be in the lineup every day makes all the difference in the world. “The level of comfort here is much greater than what I had in Boston.  There was always the chance of being sent down if I didn’t perform.  They’ve made it clear here in Oakland that I’m playing every day.  I’m their 3-hole hitter.  I don’t have to worry about the pressure of being sent down after every game.  I can sit there in my room at night and get mentally prepared for the next game.  I think it’s showing in the performance level and the numbers that I’m comfortable here, and I’m ready to be here as an everyday player.”     

     There were stretches when Reddick played for the PawSox that he could have been considered the hottest hitter on the planet.  He was asked if he was especially hot now, or if it was just a product of his new surroundings.  “I don’t think I’m red hot right now.  I get into stretches where I hit .400, like August 2010 (with Pawtucket) where I was unconscious for the month.  I went off.  I’m still waiting for that little stretch where I can really go off and put up some really good numbers.  I’m satisfied with the numbers right now.  I wouldn’t say I’m hot, but I’m doing OK.  It’s a big adjustment going from the 7-hole in Boston to the 3-hole in Oakland.  You’ve got to be more patient as a hitter and I feel I’m doing well with that.”

     Ironically, Reddick is working with the same hitting iinstructor in Oakland that he worked with in 2011 in Pawtucket, Chili Davis.  Davis was hired by the A’s during the offseason and that suits Reddick just fine.  “It’s great.  The trade was a little tough for me, I didn’t know how I was going to react with a new team.  Having Chili come over here has made me that much more comfortable.  Especially working with a new coaching staff, he can tell them what I can do.  We’ve got a young group of guys here.  Easy to relate to.   The average age here is 27 or 28, as opposed to 35 over in Boston.  We seem to get along really well.”

     The A’s have already played a series in Boston and Reddick savored the opportunity to come back.  “It was a blast.  I circled it on my calendar and couldn’t wait to go back.  I called some of the guys and made plans.  Coming home and taking two out of three was big for me.  I got some bragging rights, and being able to homer against my best friend on the Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) was huge for me.  It was a great experience for me to get Clay like that and that night we went out to dinner and just caught up.  It was a great time for me.”  When asked who bought dinner, Josh responded quickly, with a laugh.  “Oh, definitely not me.” 

     While Josh was with the PawSox he hosted a weekly segment on the broadcast called “The Chronicles of Reddick”.  It was an interview with one of his teammates, delivered “Redneck” style.  Josh admitted to playing it up a bit for laughs.  “Yeah, any time I’d get somebody on there, I’d jump up the accent and have a little fun with it.  I really enjoyed it.  I had a blast.  I was happy to be a part of it, to follow guys like Chad Paronto and Jeff Natale.”

\     Reddick has a mature attitude when talking about the Sox trading him to Oakland.  “It’s all part of the business.  They felt like they needed a closer.  Unfortunately, he (Andrew Bailey) is hurt.  Those guys have been in the business a long time and know how to run a team.  I was proud and honored that I was that well thought of by the Athletics.  They gave up their two-time All Star closer and former rookie of the year for me.  I can add that to my resume of good accomplishments.”

     Reddick is somewhat amused however, when he looks at the outfield situation for Boston. With all the injuries and callups, he figures he’d have gotten a chance to play at Fenway this year.  “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little amused.  I do chuckle a little bit.  I never want to see anybody get hurt, but I do get a little smirk every now and then when I imagine what they lost.”

     Reddick takes great pride in his improvement over the first part of the 2012 season.  Being kept in the lineup to face leftys like David Price of Tampa and the Yankees’ CC Sabathia means the world to him.  No platooning.  No hiding him.  He’s an everyday Major Leaguer.  “You become a better player when you’re in there, facing the best.”

     He admits keeping an eye on the PawSox and is happy for their success.  “Oh yeah. I hope they can keep it up all year.”  I bet they’re hoping the same thing for Josh Reddick.

        

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