Francona: Reddick gives us a better chance

July, 22, 2011
7/22/11
5:09
PM ET
BOSTON -- At the moment it’s easy for Red Sox manager Terry Francona to pencil Josh Reddick’s name on the lineup card.

On the club’s recent road trip, Reddick went 7-for-21 (.333) with six runs, a double, two home runs, three RBI and four walks. Overall, he’s hitting .378 with four homers and 18 RBIs during two different stints (29 games) with Boston this season.

He’s back in there tonight in right field in place of the struggling J.D. Drew, batting seventh against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

“He’s swinging the bat awfully well,” explained Francona. “It’s kind of hard not to play him.”

Francona said he called Drew Thursday night and explained the situation.

“It was out of respect for him,” Francona said of the phone call. “Like [Jed] Lowrie earlier in the season, Josh deserves to play. He’s given us such a lift in our lineup. Again, I don’t know where it’s gonna go, nobody does. As much as we want to win games, at the moment Red gives us a better chance, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Francona said Drew understands the situation. He’s hitting a lowly .219 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 77 games.

“He’s fine. He said he understood,” Francona said. “I think he does. I think J.D. cares more than people realize. I also told him I’d never give up on him, either. We’ve all talked about what J.D. has in there and if it comes out, we would love that, too. I’d love to be in a position where it’s hard to figure out who is going to play. If that’s a dilemma, then it’s a good one to have.”

Reddick made his major league debut with the Red Sox in 2009, playing a total of 27 games and played 29 games in 2010. This season he is producing.

“The biggest thing is his ability to swing at strikes. He’s got such good hand-eye coordination, strong hitters’ hand and the ball jumps off his bat. It looks like it’s starting to fall into place. I hope it stays there.”

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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