By Brett Dolan

It didn’t take new Astros outfielder Josh Reddick long Thursday to enjoy Minute Maid Park as a member of the home team. In his first at bat against Chicago, he drilled a long home run to right field, his first off the spring.

Reddick admitted before the game that spring training felt like it dragged on forever and it was hard to get locked in when the games have such little meaning. He collected just 12 hits in 52 at bats in Florida.

The number 52, however, had plenty of meaning when it came time to sign on the dotted line as a free agent. Reddick inked a four-year, $52 million contract to join an Astros team on the rise and lengthen a lineup that could be much more potent in 2017.

“Everybody is talking about how great our lineup can be,” he said. “We talk about it all the time. You look at it, you’ve got seven to eight guys who could hit third or fourth on any other ball club. Even if you are hitting seventh or eighth you are still going to have guys on base and you can drive plenty of guys in.”

Reddick went on to add that the Astros have the potential to have seven guys hit 20 or more home runs.

“The mix (of players) will take a minute for A.J. (Hinch) to figure out, but I think he will be all right and once we get it going it will be pretty dangerous,” he added.

The Astros hope Reddick can help an offense that finished 2016 as the 8th best American League team in batting average, 8th best in runs scored and ninth in home runs.

Reddick’s homer Thursday was not insignificant because it came off Cubs left-hander Brett Anderson. Lefties have caused plenty of problems for Reddick in his career and overall he is coming off 47 games with the Dodgers to end 2016 that saw him hit just .258 with two homers.

Count the former Dodger, Oakland Athletic and Boston Red Sox player, as excited to take his cracks at Minute Maid.

“I haven’t had the pleasure of playing in a hitter’s ballpark in my career yet,” he explained. “It’s (Minute Maid) a great ballpark for me to play in.”

Reddick admitted there will be some nerves on Opening Night, Monday against Seattle. But he is ready for the regular season to start and prepared for the high expectations his signing, along with Carlos Beltran, Charlie Morton and the trade of Brian McCann brings to Houston.

“We obviously got a lot of hype,” he said, “and one thing we want to do is live up to that.”



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