Baseballs’ carousel never stops turning. Very evident at McCoy stadium this week as Josh Reddick returns from his stint in Boston, Kason Gabbard is up from extended Spring Training and old friend, Brandon Moss is in town in an Indianapolis uniform. Moss was an All Star in Pawtucket, both on and off the field. Easily one of the nicest people I’ve ever known in any walk of life. Brandon was part of the trade that brought Jason Bay to Boston and sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Moss played for Pittsburgh in both 2008 and ’09. Last season he hit .236 with 7 homers and 41 rbi. This season, he begins with the Triple A affiliate of the Pirates in Indy. Saw him in the visitors’ clubhouse this afternoon. He had an ear to ear grin, returning to the scene of so many successes. The report on his 6 month old son Jayden was concise. “He’s a stud. Alli (his wife) has her hands full. He’s a lot like me.”
Gabbard last appeared in a PawSox uniform in 2007, when he and David Murphy were traded to Texas for Eric Gagne. The Sox bought him back last April. Since then he has been struggling with injuries. Today he told me he was fine physically, but still was working on his mechanics. Gabbard had been at extended Spring Training in Fort Myers when he was called to take the roster spot of Fabio Castro, who was promoted to help bolster the Red Sox’ beleaguered bullpen. Gabby, who was married this past winter was glad to head north. “I’m usually done with my work by 10:00 a.m. every day, so there’s a lot of down time. I spend a lot of time with my wife, and playing golf.” Gabbards’ name may ring a bell. He threw a 3 hit shutout for Boston back in July 2007 against the Royals.
Reddick, meanwhile is back after appearing in three games with Boston. He went 1-6 with a 2 run double in the comeback game on the 20th against Texas. He was modest about his results. “Nothing much really changed. Still trying to get on track. It’s been a really slow start and I don’t feel like I’m doing much to help any team right now. I kinda got lucky with my double up there. It got pushed back and (Josh) Hamilton misread it. It went in my favor. I just have to come back here and get locked in. That’s all.” Reddick admits that his comfort level is much better this year, playing in Boston, given his 2009 debut and his success this Spring in Florida. “It’s a lot better feeling this year. I’m not afraid to talk to the guys, and they come up and talk to me, too. It’s much better communicating with them, than sitting there by myself.”
Reddick had a front row seat when the Sox staged an epic comeback, lead by teammate Darnell McDonald. In fact, Darnell hit his home run that night, while pinch-hitting for Josh. He remained in the game and also had the game-winning hit, a wall ball single that scored the deciding run. Both PawSox outfielders had been summoned that morning, while the club was in Rochester. “Before the game, we were joking that the “B-squad” was going to come and help to win the game. When he did his thing, we were laughing because it came true. Goes to show you, different guys can come through and do it on any given night.”
Reddick summed up the onfield celebration in one word. “Fantastic. We all went out there, running towards him. I’m pretty sure he woke up the next day kinda sore. Papelbon and Youkilis tackled him out there in leftfield.”
Reddick is clearly ready to get back to work at McCoy and it sounds like he knows exactly what he needs to do. “I need to calm things down at the plate. I’m still trying to do too much. My timing’s still off. I need to get my foot down. That’s a really big thing. Easier said than done, but I have to make that adjustment. Making adjustments in baseball is a really hard thing to do, but I have to do it if I want to go back up there and perform where I want to be.”