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Jackie Bradley Jr. after first career hit: ‘I feel like I can compete at the highest level’

04.03.13 at 9:04 pm ET
By

Jackie Bradley (AP)

NEW YORK — Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to work his way through a number of career firsts. After an impressive Opening Day performance in which he went 0-for-2 with three walks, two runs and a tremendous catch, the outfielder absorbed his first career plunking with a hit by pitch against Hiroki Kuroda in the second inning, and then, in the third, lining a 2-2 fastball from right-hander Cody Eppley back through the box and into center for an RBI single. The ball was immediately tossed into the Red Sox dugout so that Bradley would have a memento of the milestone.

“I’m glad I did it, it was a big opportunity right there and you know I got an RBI out of it too, so pretty sweet,” said Bradley. “I always would like to contribute, do the best I can and do whatever I can to help out the team. As long as you get wins, that’s all that matters.”

Bradley went 1-for-4 with the HBP, and has now reached base in five of his 10 plate appearances. He also continued to display his exceptional defensive gifts, tracking down a flyball that seemed destined to land in the gap in left-center. Overall, he’s certainly been a meaningful contributor to the Sox’ two wins to start the year. Given that, Bradley was asked, does he feel as if he’s answered any questions he might have had about his readiness for the big leagues?

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily answering questions or anything like that. I feel like I can compete at the highest level and I enjoy competing at the highest level. It’s where I want to eventually be and stick,” said Bradley. “It feels great to be able to help out, do what you can.”

Bradley also shrugged off the notion that he’s trying to make some kind of statement or on-field case that he should remain in the big leagues after the return of David Ortiz from the DL, a development that is anticipated later this month.

“I’m just trying to do what I can to help out the team. Whatever they have in the plans for the future with me, you know I’m all for,” he said. “I’m just trying to help the team out while I’m here.”

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