Reddick's All-Star break more enjoyable this year

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Reddick's All-Star break more enjoyable this year

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Josh Reddick needed to get away -- away from baseball, away from missed opportunities with the Boston Red Sox, away from the first half of a season he knew he could have played better.

So he got in his boat and drove away.

Last summer Reddick spent the 2010 All-Star Break out on the water by his home in Georgia. There, surrounded by the serene scenery of the river and the trees that surrounded it, he didnt speak a word of baseball and left it all behind.

Baseball wasnt an option, he said. I did some fishing, enjoyed some family and friends. I actually did a little tubing and knee-boarding and stuff I cant really do a whole lot anymore. I did whatever I could do to keep my mind off baseball.

This week he is doing the same, only this year he headed home for the break knowing he has made the most of the opportunities that eluded him last season.

2010 could have been a breakout year for Reddick, who was drafted by the organization in 2006. After playing 27 games for the Red Sox as a 22-year-old call up during the 2009 season, injuries in the outfield last season created another opportunity for him to play at Fenway Park.

Even though he hadnt been swinging the bat well in Triple-A Pawtucket, he hoped he would be able to connect in the big leagues. When that didnt happen, the Red Sox called upon Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish. By the end of the first half of last season, Reddick had hit 4-for-25 in 11 games for the Red Sox.

Mentally I was really down on myself last All-Star Break, he said. I wouldnt say kind of a depressed state, but very upset with myself because I had a huge chance to come up here and become a regular starter with the injuries we had and I didnt really make the best of my opportunity. And they found people who did. So tip your cap to those guys, Im still good friends with them. It just shows they can go find someone to do my job now if I dont do it.

Reddick returned to Pawtucket from the All-Star Break determined to take control of the rest of the season. He hit nearly .400 in the last 15 games for the PawSox, but it was Kalish, not him, who was promoted to the bigs for the majority of the second half.

It grabbed my skin a little bit and made me realize, Im swinging the bat well, so what else do I need to do?, he recalled. Ever since that day, it seemed like everything kind of fell into place and everything kind of worked out.

Reddick was called up to the Red Sox in September and spent the remainder of their season with the team. He entered the offseason determined to make sure what happened in 2010 did not happen in 2011. After a stint playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic didnt go as planned, he returned to the United States to prepare for Spring Training.

Reddick gained a better appreciation of staying focused and being patient at the plate . . . and for another chance in the Major Leagues. While Red Sox outfielders had been hampered with injuries early on last season, they did not face the same problem in the first two months this year. Reddick had a brief stint in Boston from late May into early June, but when Carl Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring on June 18, the Red Sox called upon him to help fill the void.

This time, he wasnt going to let his chance go.

I dont know what happened. I guess it just kind of clicked, Reddick said. Coming in here, maybe it was actually going up there every at-bat and having a plan every at-bat and not going up there and ripping at everything I can see whether theres a runner in scoring position or not. Sometimes I credit that to just taking it until I get a strike, 1-0, 2-0, just going about it that way because you never know when theyre going to start you with a breaking ball and you never want to roll over a breaking ball to start an inning or end an inning. I dont really know. Its hard to explain.

Reddick is batting .393 (including 24 hits, 15 RBI, 14 runs, 2 home runs) in the 23 games he has played for the Red Sox in the first half of the season, while also filling in defensively in the outfield.

He feeds off the success and experience of his teammates, whom he has a closer bond with this season. Now 24 and in his third year of call ups, Reddick feels more comfortable approaching them for advice, questions, and everyday conversation.

I feel like Ive grown up a lot, he said. I find myself having more conversations with guys in here. That makes it a lot more comfortable. I was in the corner, now Im in the middle of the locker room. I actually feel like part of the team and Im actually talking to guys in here, out on the field whether its during BP or the game. I think thats brought a different comfort level in a positive way. It affects your game. When you get in this lineup, you tend to feed off of other guys and it makes you want to do better.

Back then I think I understood how important it was, but I just didnt want to be that annoying new kid, new brat, that ran up to everybody like a 5-year-old. I didnt want to get on everyones nerves so I just kept to myself and figured Id let my performances do the talking, and then when the right time came along Id start associating with them. You have to put yourself out there. You cant just sit around forever. Youve got to let it go and let it happen.

After accomplishing in the first half of this season what he fell short of doing last year, Reddick returned home for the All-Star Break on a high note. Even though he is in a different place in his career than he was this time last summer, he is still going back to the same place he enjoys the most.

He will head to the river, turn off his phone, and spend time outdoors with those close to him, speaking of anything but the game of baseball before driving down to Florida to meet the team for their series against the Tampa Bay Rays this week.

Its just the sense of relaxation. Words cant describe it, he said. Youre out there by yourself, got your own thoughts out there, you can let everything go off your shoulders, and catch a fish or two. The enjoyment of reeling in a fish and letting it go is just what Ive grown up on and what Im accustomed to.

Theres woods on each side, just nice peace and quiet when youre not doing anything. Who doesnt enjoy family and friends?

With a successful first half behind him, this year he will be able to enjoy it even more.

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

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake