Home Run Derby
The Josh Reddick Home Run Derby will be held Jan. 18 at Macomber Park in Rincon. There will be a boys and a girls division and age brackets will be 10-12, 13-15 and 16 and up. To sign up and for more information, visit www.rinconrec.com.
Josh Reddick is enjoying the offseason, even if he is still a few days away from being able to swing a baseball bat.
The Oakland Athletics right fielder and South Effingham High School grad had surgery on his right wrist in late October, the same procedure he had on his left wrist two years ago. He started rehabilitation on the repaired joint about three weeks ago.
“The wrist feels great,” Reddick said. “I’m ahead of schedule.”
It will be another few days before Reddick can pick up a bat and take some cuts, so he couldn’t get into the cage with the kids at the annual Mustangs Winter Hitting Camp and show off his stroke.
“The hardest part is not picking up a ball to throw,” Reddick said. “I usually don’t start swinging until mid-January anyways. So I’m pretty much on the same schedule.”
What the surgery has prohibited him from doing during his short time off — the season ended Oct. 10 and the Athletics start Cactus League games Feb. 26 — is hit the links rather than the cage.
“It takes a lot of off-season activities out of my hands,” Reddick said. “I like to play golf a lot in the off-season, and I can’t do that yet.”
He’s put his off time to use, though, getting to see family and friends he doesn’t get to see much, if at all, during the season, since he’s out on the West Coast. It’s given him time to watch plenty of college football, too.
“In the off-season, you get bored very easily,” he said, “but it’s a good feeling to be that kind of bored. You get to catch up with family and friends as much as possible. It’s been fun. I’ve been a new homeowner for about a year now, so I’ve got my own place and my own time.”
Reddick battled injuries throughout his second season with the Athletics, who won the American League West, twice going on the disabled list. After 32 home runs in 2012, he hit 12 in 2013, though he was 17-for-56, a .304 average, with two home runs and 10 runs batted in after his second stint on the DL.
Reddick also starred in the Athletics’ AL Division Series against Detroit, with a homer and a double in 17 at-bats.
During his talk to his kids at the hitting camp, Reddick told them how he didn’t let anything deter him from his dream of being a big-league ball player. He recounted the day he was called up to the big leagues for the first time, including sitting in a hotel room in Baltimore while the Boston Red Sox, in town to play the Orioles, waited to see if the young outfielder was needed that night.
He also recalled his first start at Fenway Park, going up against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Reddick doubled off the Cy Young Award winner. He even evoked one of the lines from the baseball movie “A League of Their Own.”
“I doubt he was crying,” Reddick told the kids. “Because there’s no crying in baseball.”
Since the end of the season, the 2012 Gold Glove winner has been prominent in the world of professional wrestling, thanks to his season-long “beard-off” with World Wrestling Entertainment star Daniel Bryan. Reddick lost on the fan vote to Bryan and as part of the “Smackdown” appearance in Atlanta, he had his beard shaved off.
Reddick likely will get much more support on his next visit to Atlanta — the Athletics will play the Braves at Turner Field from Aug. 15-17, and Reddick already is expecting dozens of friends and family in attendance.
The Athletics also have tendered an offer to the arbitration-eligible Reddick, meaning they’ll keep the outfielder named the club’s defensive player of the year. While a salary for the 2014 season hasn’t been set, Reddick is hoping a deal will be finished by the end of January.
“Hopefully we won’t have to go down arbitration and that rough road, so I’ll be an A for another year,” he said.
Reddick also discussed who as a kid his favorite ball player was — Ken Griffey Jr. — and who his hero is. It was and remains his dad. In 1988, his father Dennis Reddick was hurt in a work accident, electrocuted and twice declared dead. His father taught him how to swing a bat, and when Josh was 5 years old, his father asked him what he wanted to be.
“I said a big league baseball player, and it’s never changed,” he said.