As I’ve said so many times before, the best part of my job, are the people I meet as the voice of the PawSox. You think you’ve met the nicest guy in baseball, then along comes an equal. Jason Repko, rehabbing with the PawSox, coming back from a knee injury, currently holds the crown. The former number one pick of the Dodgers has an amazing attitude, despite battling injuries throughout his career. He was signed by the Red Sox during the offseason to help bolster the outfield corps. After a long stretch on the disabled list, Repko is raring to go. “It’s been a long couple of months. I’m glad to start playing. Played a week down in Greenville. I’ve been doing everything. I feel good.” Repko has been outfitted with a brace for his wounded knee that he hopes will stabilize things. “Yeah, I’ve got a brace. It gives me good support, so I’ve got to trust that it works. I’ve been able to resume all baseball activities, sliding, running, everything. I trust it pretty well.
Unfortunately, injuries have played a large role throughout his career, yet Repko perseveres, with a smile on his face. “I’ve got experience going through this. It’s never fun to be injured. it’s definitely frustrating, but missing part of ’06 and all of ’07, I’ve learned how to be patient, get myself right and hopefully, contribute down the road.” Jason chipped immediately, going 1-4 with a double and an RBI in his first game back.
Repko made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2005 and hit a home run in his first at bat at Chavez Ravine. He’ll never forget it. “It was actually the first swing I ever took at Dodger Stadium. That’s been one of the biggest highlights of my career. Looking around and seeing 55,000 fans cheering for you.” And immediately, you have 55,000 new friends. “It was good. It was a great experience.”
Fast forward to 2010, when Jason Repko signed with the Twins and split the next two seasons in Minnesota and Rochester. “I was at Frontier Field for two and a half months before I got called up. I enjoyed my time there. The Twins work hard to bring good character people into their system. It was always good there.”
Repko joined the Sox during the winter and went to Spring training as a non-roster invitee. He’s proud of earning his place in the “Nation.” “I’ve always put myself into that situation, even early in my career. I made the Dodgers in ’05, but in ’06, I approached it like I had to earn it all over again, even though I had been told that I was in good shape to makle it again. I’ve always wanted to show what I could do, so it was no different this year with the Red Sox.” Repko has made just one error in the Majors over the last 4 seasons, a source of great pride. “I am proud of my defense. I figure your offense can slump, but your defense never should. No one likes making errors, but one error, I can live with that.”
Repko had an abrupt end to his 2011 season, after being hit in the head by a pitch from former Pawtucket hurler, Justin Masterson. Shut down by concussion-like symptoms, Repko is pleased with baseballs’ approach to handling such incidents. “I think they’ve been doing a good job over the last few years. It’s never a good experience. I’ve had four or five of them throughout my career. I was pretty messed up for almost a week. I was disoriented, felt dizzy and sick to my stomach. Baseball definitely needs to stay aware and I think that heading into next year, they’re even doing something with the helmets. Baseball is definitely hitting the right spots to try to prevent concussion injuries from happening.”
It will be great to see Jason Repko stay healthy for the rest of the year and beyond. For his sake, and for the sake of the Red Sox.