Red Sox 36-year-old outfielder Scott Podsednik is hitting .426 in 54 at-bats at Fenway Park this season with hits in 13 of the 14 games he has started there. He has stroked multiple hits in nine of those games.
Podsednik’s success at Fenway hasn’t been limited to just this year though.
He has a .384 batting average in 99 career at-bats there. That’s the best average at Fenway among all active major leaguers. He has stroked at least one hit in 23 of 27 games in Boston during his career.
So what makes Podsednik and Fenway Park a perfect match?
“The whole ballpark in general,” Podsednik told The Eagle-Tribune over the weekend. “There’s an energy here. There’s a fun atmosphere here. And I’ve felt like I’ve always played better in those types of atmospheres. Yankee Stadium, I think I’ve fared pretty well. Wrigley, I’ve fared pretty well.”
Podsednik does hit well at the stadiums known for having the most energy.
He was a .367 hitter in 30 at-bats at old Yankee Stadium and is a .351 hitter in 37 career at-bats at the New Yankee Stadium.
At Chicago’s Wrigley Field, he has hit .330 in 112 at-bats.
At Shea Stadium, he hit .306 in 49 at-bats. He has never played at the the Mets’ new stadium, Citi FIeld.
At Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, he is a .448 hitter in 29 at-bats.
He has hit .310 in 42 at-bats at San Francisco’s energetic and pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. He was a .344 hitter in 64 at-bats at St. Louis’ old Busch Stadium and has one hit in just two at-bats at the new Busch.
Stats don’t lie. Podsednik, a .282 career hitter, obviously steps up his game a notch in the more pressure-packed, energized ballparks.
“I just like playing in front of crowds and in front of energy,” Podsednik said.
Podsednik always has enjoyed playing Fenway.
“There’s a distinct energy and feel about this ballpark and a handful of others,” he said. “I’ve just always had fun playing here.”
Overall, Podsednik has done a heck of a job for the Boston Red Sox when they have called upon him to play this year. He entered Tuesday hitting .375 with a .398 on-base percentage in 35 games. He had hit safely in 25 of 29 starts with a .393 batting average in those games.
That’s pretty good for a guy who didn’t play at all in the majors in 2011 and was limited to just 34 minor league games in the Phillies’ system last year because of plantar fasciitis, two fractured bones in his left foot and a fractured bone in his right foot.
“Am I surprised with what I’m doing right now? No,” Podsednik said. “I had a real good offseason getting back into the shape I needed to get in to play at this level. Based on how I was feeling physically, I felt like could still come out and contribute at the big league level. ... The condition I got my body in, I still felt like I could get it done.”
Podsednik actually is in his second stint with the Red Sox, who acquired him May 11 for cash considerations from the Phillies.
He immediately was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket and then was called-up to Boston on May 22.
He hit .387 in 19 games with Boston but then landed on the disabled list with a left groin strain. When he was activated from the DL on July 6, he was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
He stayed in Pawtucket until being traded to Arizona along with reliever Matt Albers for reliever Craig Breslow on July 31.
But Podesdnik declined a minor assignment from Arizona, who then waived him.
He signed a major league deal with Boston Aug. 10 and was hitting .360 in 16 games with the Sox this month entering Tuesday.
He has started games in four different spots in the Red Sox batting order, including 14 starts at leadoff entering Tuesday where he had hit .407 with a .429 on-base percentage and six steals in 59 at-bats.
“Would I rather hit leadoff than ninth? Yes,” Podsednik said.
“Am I any more comfortable leading off than hitting ninth? No. My approach doesn’t change whether I’m hitting first or I’m hitting ninth. My goal is to reach base and ultimately come around to score.”