It’s no secret that Dustin Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox and it was reaffirmed when the baseball world learnt that the second baseman played the entire season with a torn ligament in his thumb; an injury he suffered on Opening Day none the less.
But now it’s become public knowledge that Jacoby Ellsbury had a hand, or a thumb in Pedroia playing through the injury, making the gold glove second baseman the ultimate teammate.
According to Pedroia, who told Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com, the Sox all-star centerfielder contacted him via text message and convinced him to continue playing and forgo the required surgery.
In the end it was Pedroia’s decision and now it’s come out that the surgery to repair the ligament could be more complicated than originally thought. The reason being of all the wear and tear from playing everyday may require surgery that “grafts a piece of the wrist tendon into the thumb” according to the Boston Globe. It’s compared to Tommy John Surgery.
So why did Pedroia risk further complications down the road when he knew that he could correct the injury early in the season and still recover in time and still play in the majority of the games? Because of his teammates.
Pedroia admitted to MacMullan that he was preparing himself for the surgery after consulting with the team’s medical staff on the off-day that followed their Opening Day victory over the New York Yankees. He was trying to mentally prepare for weeks of recovery and not being able to contribute to the team or help his fellow comrades.
Enter Ellsbury and his text message.
The way Pedroia describes it to MacMullan is that he told Ellsbury he had ligament damage and would need surgery. Ellsbury responded with the following, courtesy of ESPNBoston.com:
‘Is there any way you can play through it? We need you.'”
That was all Pedey needed to hear. It was his actions that followed that make the ultimate teammate, if he wasn’t already by deciding to play through the pain and accept any long-term complications that may arise. He did it for his teammates because he believes they would have done it for him. After watching this group of bearded wonders for seven months, it’s easy to bet that yes, they likely would have.
But watching Pedroia day in and day out, battle like only he can, knowing that he’s not 100% healthy further cements his legacy in Boston. Now we know it further cements his label as the ultimate teammate.
What he did may have been foolish in the eyes of some but to others it’s heroic and brave. And he did it all for the unselfish reasons of wanting to help his team win.