MIAMI -- As Scott Podsednik continues to get hits for the Red Sox, other teams might regret the fact the outfielder could have been had for just about nothing over the last year and a half.
Stuck in the Minor Leagues for all of 2011 and the first six weeks of 2012, Podsednik has resurfaced in productive fashion.
Podsednik, who led off Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Marlins against former teammate Mark Buehrle, is hitting .370 in his first 15 games with the Red Sox. Podsednik has a .375 on-base percentage and four stolen bases.
"Top, bottom, wherever he's hitting, he's played a great brand of baseball for us," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He's an aggressive guy who, his confidence, I think, is something our team needs to see. And he's performing well. Heck, when you're hitting .400, stealing bases when you get the opportunity and scoring runs, you're doing a pretty good job."
How is it that Podsednik couldn't find his way on a Major League roster for so long when he is playing this well at the age of 36?
"I can't explain it. He explains just that he's more healthy," Valentine said. "He's feeling much better than he has in a while. When you have 100 percent health, you can perform. That's the only chance you have at performing at this level, at a high level. He's doing that."
Though Podsednik isn't quite the burner he once was, he remains a viable threat on the bases.
"Well, he takes the best lead of anyone on our team. He takes it in the proper place," Valentine said. "He has very good technique when he starts. He understands how to slide, so in between that, there's those nine good strides, which is a fast runner. His start and his finish are what make him good. I don't know what his speed was and is necessarily, but it's functional."
Ortiz out of lineup for just second time
MIAMI -- Confined by National League rules this week, manager Bobby Valentine kept his most productive hitter out of the starting lineup on Tuesday night.
This marked just the second time this season David Ortiz hasn't been in the lineup. Both times, it's been in NL parks.
Without Papi, Kevin Youkilis started at first, with Will Middlebrooks at third and Adrian Gonzalez in right.
Interestingly, Ortiz is a .345 lifetime hitter in 58 at-bats against Marlins starter Mark Buehrle, adding in two homers and 11 RBIs. In 14 at-bats against the swift-working lefty, Youkilis has three hits (.214 average) and three RBIs.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
After conferring with Ortiz, Valentine decided it made the most sense to give Ortiz the middle game of the series off so he wouldn't have to play first base on back-to-back days.
"The decision was made early with David that he wasn't going to play in the middle game of the series -- about two weeks ago," said Valentine. "It was early, so that wasn't a decision."
Ortiz is hitting .303 this season with 14 homers and 38 RBIs.
Hill relieved with diagnosis on left elbow
MIAMI -- While any player dreads being told that he is going to miss at least about a month of action, lefty Rich Hill has the perspective to know a month isn't so bad.
Hill's season ended in June last season, when he underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery. So when he was experiencing elbow woes again a few days ago, he definitely had some concern on his way to Pensacola, Fla., where he was examined by Dr. James Andrews.
Fortunately for Hill, Andrews found that the lefty's ligaments were perfectly intact and that the injury was a flexor strain.
"Coming back strong and then having something else happen, there is anxiety there," Hill said. "You worry that something could be wrong with the ligament. It turned out that it wasn't. That was really, really a good sign."
The only thing Hill knows is that he's not permitted to throw for two weeks. After that, the doctors will re-evaluate him. Perhaps then he can resume baseball activities.
"It's frustrating," Hill said. "You miss the competition and you miss going out there and competing with your teammates. That's the toughest part. You have to sit on the sidelines and watch. That's obviously what any player misses.
"[But] if you continue to push it, you ultimately end up with what we had last year and end up doing it again, which is not what I want to go through. Altogether, if you miss six weeks, you come back and it's behind you and you move on, instead of missing another year."