Just hours after getting his first major-league hit, Josh Reddick hit his first big-league homer.
The former South Effingham High School star hit a 2-2 pitch from Brian Bass out to left center field for a solo homer in the top of the third inning to give the Boston Red Sox a 7-0 lead over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday. It was also his first major league RBI and first major league run scored.
When the Red Sox brass called Reddick on Friday, he expected to get called up to Triple-A Pawtucket — and even to be part of a trade as the 4 p.m. July 31 deadline neared.
"I didn't expect this," Reddick told WRKO's radio team of Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione after Saturday night's game. "Any kid's dream come true is to play major league baseball."
Reddick batted eighth in the Red Sox starting lineup and played right field as J.D. Drew sat out with a groin problem. At 22 years old, Reddick is the youngest member of the Red Sox major league team.
He lined a 2-1 pitch from the Orioles' David Hernandez into the gap in right-center for a double in the top of the second inning for his first big league hit. The ball was taken out of play and tossed into the Red Sox dugout for Reddick's safekeeping.
After striking out in his second at-bat, Reddick worked a walk after falling down 0-2 in the count to reliever Mark Hendrickson. Reddick led off the seventh by lining a 1-2 pitch from Chris Ray down the right-field line for his second double.
He finished 2-for-4 and also played left field after Jason Bay left the game. Rocco Baldelli replaced Reddick in right field. The Red Sox won't know if Drew is ready to play Sunday until the morning, and Bay's apparent injury also could cloud the outfield picture.
"Tito (Boston manager Terry Francona) told me they didn't know how long I was going to be here," Reddick said.
Reddick also commented on shaving the mohawk haircut just before his callup.
"I started swinging the bat really well," he said on WRKO's postgame show. "It goes to show you, superstition is not everything in baseball."
He also noted that after returning from the disabled list earlier this year, he had to learn patience at the plate.
"When I came back from the oblique strain, I was trying to do too much," he said. "(Portland coach) Arnie (Beyeler) pulled me aside and told me to calm down."
Reddick also worked on recognizing the pitches and taking notice of a pitcher's arm slot, he told WRKO.
Reddick was promoted from Double-A Portland to the major league club and joined the team Friday night. Joining the big leagues this season — and even next season — wasn't on his mind.
"I didn't expect to make it this year," Reddick told WRKO. "It's an honor to have (general manager) Theo (Epstein) and Mike Hazen believe in me and think I can compete with the major leaguers."
Reddick is No. 68 for the Sox, who began a series in Baltimore on Friday. He has been placed on the 40-man roster, a necessary step before joining the club.
Reddick got into the game against the Orioles in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter and grounded out off reliever Cla Meredith. He replaced Rocco Baldelli in right field in the bottom of the ninth.
The everyday center fielder for the Portland Sea Dogs, Reddick was hitting .277 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs in only 256 at-bats. He missed several weeks this season with a strained oblique muscle.
The ball for his first major league hit likely will be sent back home soon, he said. As for what home is, Reddick told O'Brien and Castiglione:
"It's about 20 miles north of Savannah, in a county called Effingham."