Reddick making his mark with a Flair

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Reddick making his mark with a Flair

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

BOSTON -- In a clubhouse lined with red folding chairs in front of the lockers, a single black seat stood out. It was, appropriately enough, placed under a replica championship belt and an ornate Ric Flair Nature Boy robe hanging from the ceiling.

Josh Reddick had been waiting weeks for this, a gift from a friend who works for the WWE. It was a Triple H-themed folding chair, memorabilia of Reddick's favorite wrestler, with the wrestler's face on the seat cushion.

Hes always been a guy -- I know they say its all fake -- but hes always someone Ive enjoyed watching because it looks like a passion more than just a job and an entertainment, Reddick said. He takes it really seriously even though the situations, they say, are fake.

The WWE became a topic of conversation in the Red Sox clubhouse this season when Reddick purchased Flairs autographed robe on eBay for his lockermate, Dustin Pedroia, a fellow WWE fan. The flashy extra-large garb, with the nickname Nature Boy bedazzled on the back, has become a mainstay in their quarters above Pedroias locker.

Reddick took his love for the WWE on to the field last month when he switched his at-bat music from Dropkick Murphys Cadence to Arms to Also Sprach Zarathustra, best known as the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is also Flairs entrance music.

I never go out there trying to be too amped up, so I try not to pick something thats going to be too intense. Everything I pick Ive enjoyed hearing, he said. It clears my head more than anything.

After a few games with the dramatic song, Reddick changed his at-bat music again. It was a song he had used in the minors leagues and had wanted to play in the majors, but was waiting for the right time -- I dont think Im ready for that yet. Its hard, its hard rock, he said earlier. With the regular season winding down, Reddick went for it and chose his wrestling idols entrance song, The Game, by Motrhead.

I like most of the wrestlers music, he said. Most of the guys that walk out in wrestling have the hard-core, head-banging kind of thing. Thats not really my taste in music, so I dont really want that to be associated with me. But thats always one that Ive enjoyed. Triple H is old fashioned and obviously hes a legend and everybody likes him, and the fans seem to get into it a little bit too.

Reddick tries to catch WWE shows whenever they come to a town nearby (he spends his offseason in Georgia) and has met a few wrestlers as well. Ive actually been like four feet away from the Undertaker, whos a big guy, he noted. While he points out differences between them and baseball players, he says they have a common objective.

They obviously can get away with being a lot bigger than the average person and apparently baby oil is a huge objective for them to come out on TV (laughs). And theyre not afraid to come out in their sliders and spandex alone, he said. But theyve got the awesome entrances with the fireworks and the videos and the music. Theyre huge entertainers and we kind of share that in common.

So if Reddick had the chance to spend a day in a wrestlers shoes, what would his persona be?

Obviously Id have to put on about 30 more pounds, he joked. I feel like Id be one of those high-flying guys that just jumps up off the ropes all the time doing all kinds of crazy flips, that kind of thing. Id be loud -- Id have to be loud. The quiet guys dont really make it a whole lot. I would probably wear the standard Speedo with kneepads and boots. Itd have to be red. Reds been my color since I dont know how long.

"But I dont think theres much room for country music in that kind of lifestyle, I havent heard anyone walk out to country music. I dont know what entrance song I would pick because usually bands make up music for wrestlers like that. I think Nickelback would be a good one.

While Reddick is focused on contributing to the Red Sox quest for a championship, he may have an opportunity to look like a pro wrestler, if only for a few hours. There is a tradition of rookies wearing costumes on their last road trip of the regular season, and the Ric Flair Nature Boy coat hanging from the ceiling in the clubhouse could be the perfect get-up.

I dont know if Im going to do it yet, but weve talked about it being my costume dress up for the last road trip, he said. I threw it out there that if I bleached my hair white, would I get to wear the robe and the belt and all that stuff? They (my teammates) said that wouldnt be a problem, so well see how that goes. At least itd be something I can have fun with and enjoy.

And its not like my first year when I wore my blue fairy outfit.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.