ARLINGTON -- If the numbers (.183, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs) don't hint at an imminent turnaround for Jackie Bradley Jr., there are other signs that the center fielder could be close to doing what he does best -- following a cold spell with a hot streak."I feel he's really close
ARLINGTON -- If the numbers (.183, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs) don't hint at an imminent turnaround for Jackie Bradley Jr., there are other signs that the center fielder could be close to doing what he does best -- following a cold spell with a hot streak.
"I feel he's really close to that right now," said hitting coach Tim Hyers.
The reason Hyers has this belief is a combination of things. First, Bradley has hit into a multitude of hard outs over the last week. Second, Hyers sees the hard work Bradley has been putting in behind the scenes.
"He's been working on a few things," Hyers said. "I think he's making very good progress moving forward. He's hit some balls really hard. He's probably one of the unluckiest players on the team."
What specific adjustments is Bradley trying to make?
"I think, like all hitters, he's trying to be better with his lower half, his foundation," said Hyers. "When that lower half is in a stable position, I think it allows him to have good direction through the ball. And I think those are the two things, being able to get through his legs with good direction so his swing is kind of working, giving him a larger area to cover and to stay through on time."
As for Bradley, he has been through the ups and downs numerous times before, and he's not panicking.
"It's early," said Bradley. "I don't feel like I'm where I want to be or need to be. It's frustrating just because of the work you put in. All you can do is keep working."
Bradley's absence in the lineup for Saturday night's game had more to do with manager Alex Cora's rotation system than the slump. Bradley will be back in there for the series finale in Texas on Sunday.
The one thing Bradley wants to cut down on are the strikeouts. He has 26 of them in 104 at-bats.
"Continuously make hard contact, and hopefully they fall," Bradley said. "I can count multiple balls I hit very hard, right at someone. At least four or five of those balls drop, it's a whole different story."
Pedroia keeps ramping up
Dustin Pedroia played another extended spring game Friday, getting in four innings at second base and getting two at-bats. The second baseman, who is coming back from major surgery on his left knee, will play again on Wednesday.
"He's moving well," said Cora. "No issues there. All the reports say that he's improving, so things are going in the right direction."
Maddox getting healthy
Austin Maddox, who had a right shoulder injury and subsequent back woes that have kept him on the disabled list since the start of the season, at last seems to be turning a corner.
Maddox pitched well for the Red Sox in multiple recalls from the Minors last year and was on the postseason roster. His shoulder discomfort prevented him from pitching in Spring Training this year.
"Austin actually threw a bullpen [session] two days ago, probably his best bullpen since his shoulder situation," said Cora. "We're not going to take the next step yet. We feel he needs probably up-and-downs and aggressive bullpens, but he's trending in the right direction. [Minor League coach] Walter [Miranda] was saying that his velocity was there, the ball was coming clean out of his hand. They were very excited about the last one."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.