Up until Saturday it appeared newcomers to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization Rich Hill and Josh Reddick would get an opportunity to face their former team. While Reddick started each of the two games against the Boston Red Sox thus far, Hill was scratched from his scheduled start due to a new blister issue.
Although this weekend’s series marked the first time Hanley Ramirez returned to Dodger Stadium since leaving as a free agent in 2014, the larger story is David Ortiz’s farewell tour. Reddick was teammates with Ortiz for three seasons.
The outfielder made his Major League debut with Boston in 2009, but first crossed paths with Ortiz years prior to that. “I first met David in Double-A when he came down to rehab,” Reddick said as he began a trip down memory lane.
“Immediately I knew I loved the guy. He pulled all the hitters into a room and talked for a solid hour about hitting and how to approach things. That was a great first impression.”
Upon joining the Red Sox, the then-22-year-old was a bit of an outlier. “Don’t go talk to him, let him come to you,” Reddick joked about his initial approach to being teammates with Ortiz.
“But that was for everybody because we had so many veterans in the clubhouse that year.” Ortiz nonetheless took his pupil under his arm. “He told me what that starter had, invited me to the cage with him, I just sat in awe and listened,” Reddick recalled.
“He and I always joked about what my dad always told me, ‘Swing hard in case you hit it.’ That guy never takes a swing off. He has every intent to hit the ball in every at-bat.”
In a change from the initial plan, Ortiz started at first base on Saturday and played five innings. He went 0-for-3 and remains hitless in his career at Dodger Stadium.
Reddick’s run with bad luck came to an end in the eighth inning with a single, his first hit since being traded to the Dodgers.