Reddick making progress with sore back

Reddick making progress with sore back

BOSTON -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, who didn't play in the three-game sweep of the Rangers because of a sore back, took batting practice in the cage at Fenway Park prior to Thursday's series opener against the Red Sox and believes he could return to the lineup Friday.

Reddick was initially worried when he woke up Thursday because his back was sore, the result of an awkward sleep during the team's plane ride to Boston from Dallas late Wednesday. But once he got to the ballpark and took some swings, he grew more positive.

"It's getting there," Reddick said. "I think the flight yesterday probably didn't really help. I slept the whole way, laid down, and it probably put me in an awkward position. Took some swings today and didn't feel anything swinging, so I guess it's minor movement [in the right direction] it seems like. Just going to give it another day to be safe while we have it."

Reddick, who was drafted by the Red Sox and broke into the big leagues with Boston in 2009, has been a key part of the Astros' success this year, hitting .314 with 13 homers and 82 RBIs. He's hitting .391 in September, which is the second-highest batting average in the American League this month.

"He feels really good," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He wants to play in this ballpark. He loves coming back to Fenway. Any semblance of soreness or tentativeness on his part, he's not going to play. It's not worth it for one game until the soreness is gone. After today, hitting in the cage and being a little more active, we're hoping that [Friday] is the day."

Reddick said the injury "came out of nowhere" and might be the result of awkward swings he took during his second at-bat Friday against the Angels. He left Friday's game after two at-bats, didn't play Saturday and went 0-for-4 on Sunday in his most recent start.

"I should have taken Sunday off," he said. "Probably came back too fast. Probably could have used the extra day for it. Fortunate we have time to get it handled now."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.