MIAMI -- A year ago, Scott Podsednik spent the entire season in the minor leagues. As recently as six weeks ago, he was stuck at Lehigh Valley of the International League, hitting just .197.
Now, however, Podsednik is frequently hitting leadoff for the Red Sox and since being promoted from Pawtucket on May 22. He had a season-high three hits Monday and is hitting .405 with the Sox.
"He's been great," enthused Bobby Valentine. "Top (of the lineup), bottom . . . wherever he's hitting, he's played a great brand of baseball for us. He's an aggressive guy whose confidence is something our team needs to see. And he's performing well. Heck, when you're hitting .400 and stealing bases (four in five attempts) when you get the opportunity and scoring runs, you're doing a pretty good job."
Valentine believes that Podsednik's recent resurgence is the result of better health. A series of nagging injuries dogged the outfielder for the better part of the last two seasons, but at 36, he's as healthy now as he's been in some time.
"He's feeling much better than he has in a while," said Valentine. "When you have 100-percent health, you can perform. It's the only chance you have to perform at a high level and he's doing that."
Having been successful in 80 percent of stolen base attempts, Podesednik doesn't possess the raw speed that once enabled him to average 53 steals from 2003-2006. But his baseball intelligence and instincts have made up for whatever speed he's lost.
"He takes the best lead of anyone on our team," said Valentine. "He takes it in the proper place, he has very good technique when he starts and understands how to slide. His start and his finish is what makes him good.
"I don't know what his speed was or is (now), other than it's functional."