Red Sox send second baseman Dustin Pedroia back to disabled list

BOSTON, MA - JULY 20: Dustin Pedroia
BOSTON, MA - JULY 20: Dustin Pedroia /

The Boston Red Sox have placed second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his troublesome knee.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is heading back to the disabled list with inflammation in his surgically repaired left knee.

If it seems like only yesterday that we were talking about Pedroia returning from injury, you aren’t far off. He spent the minimum 10 days on the DL with the same knee issue, returning to play on August 8 in Tampa Bay.

Pedroia went 0-for-4 with a walk in that game, serving as the DH. He would sit out the next game, which at the time we thought was meant to protect him against playing on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field. With Hanley Ramirez returning to the lineup to reclaim the DH role, it’s understandable why the Red Sox would avoid having their veteran second baseman with ongoing knee problems play the field on that hard surface.

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Then Pedroia sat out Friday night’s game in the Bronx, which raised some eyebrows about his availability. This is arguably the biggest series of the season and the guy who leads all qualified hitters on the team in batting average isn’t ready to play? That’s a problem.

Manager John Farrell explained to reporters following the game that Pedroia’s absence was due to a recurrence of swelling and inflammation in his knee that didn’t respond well to treatment. While no decision on his status was announced at the time, you could see where this was heading.

Sure enough, the next morning we find out that Pedroia is heading back to the DL. How long he’ll be sidelined this time remains to be seen, although I would expect it will be more than the minimum 10 days. It seems clear that Pedroia rushed back after his last stint without properly testing how the knee would hold up. If he had waited at least a few more days then perhaps he’d be ready to go any day now, but jumping back into the lineup for that one game in Tampa Bay will ultimately cost him more time.

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This is Pedroia’s third trip to the disabled list this season. He’s played in only 86 of Boston’s 115 games this season. The 33-year old is hitting .303 with 6 home runs and 54 RBI.

Eduardo Nunez will handle the bulk of the playing time at second base in his absence. He’s been a savior for this lineup, hitting a scorching .407 with a 1.180 OPS in 12 games since being acquired from the San Francisco Giants.

The Red Sox have called up left-handed reliever Robby Scott to take Pedroia’s spot in the bullpen. Following Friday night’s implosion against the Yankees, some reinforcements in the bullpen couldn’t hurt.

The team remains hopeful that Pedroia will be able to return to playing on a regular basis this season. It would be wise to hold his return until September when roster’s expand. Not only would that give Pedroia extra time to rest and receive treatment on his ailing knee, it would also allow the Red Sox to be more flexible with giving him routine maintenance days off to keep him fresh for the stretch run.

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Boston can get by without him for a couple of weeks in August, but they will need Pedroia for when it matters most – in October.