Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia undergoes successful left knee surgery

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Dustin Pedroia
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Dustin Pedroia /

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent left knee surgery that will likely force him to miss the beginning of the 2018 season.

The Boston Red Sox may need to find a replacement at second base to begin next season. Dustin Pedroia had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee on Wednesday, reports the Boston Globe’s, Peter Abraham.

The team anticipates that the recovery time for this procedure will take about seven months, making it unlikely that Pedroia will be ready in time for the 2018 season. A realistic timeline would place a target for his return sometime in late-May or early-June.

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright had the same cartilage restoration procedure on his knee back in May, which shut him down for the rest of the season.

Pedroia hit a solid .293 with a .760 OPS this season but battled knee issues that limited him to 105 games. He spent two stints on the disabled list with knee inflammation and appeared in only four of the last nine regular-season games as the Red Sox aimed to rest him in preparation for the postseason.

While he managed to play in all four games of Boston’s ALDS loss to the Houston Astros, Pedroia went only 2-for-16 at the plate.

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Pedroia had been mulling over his options over the last couple of weeks before ultimately deciding to go under the knife. This is the same left knee that he had surgery on last year to repair meniscus damage.

The need to find another solution for at least the first two months of the season may increase the chances of the Red Sox re-signing free agent Eduardo Nunez, who filled in at second base during Pedroia’s disabled list stints.

Nunez was arguably the team’s best hitter following the mid-season trade that brought him to Boston from the San Francisco Giants. He hit .321 with a .892 OPS in 38 games with the Red Sox.

Losing Nunez in free agency would be a significant hit to a team in need of more offensive firepower, but he won’t come cheap and may favor going elsewhere if he’s offered a consistent everyday role. He’d have that in Boston for at least the first two months, but his spot in the lineup would be less certain once Pedroia returns.

If Nunez signs with another team the Red Sox would be left with a number of options to play second base, all of whom are either underwhelming or relatively unproven. Deven Marrero provides a reliable infield glove but not much with the bat. Tzu-Wei Lin was mildly successful in his brief stint in the majors but offers limited upside. Brock Holt has the versatility to play anywhere but he may end up playing for another team if the Red Sox decide he’s not worth the raise he’ll expect in arbitration following a year ruined by concussion symptoms and vertigo. Marco Hernandez should be healthy next season but he wasn’t replicating his promising 2016 production even before suffering a season-ending injury.

Boston could attempt to get by with any combination of those options until Pedroia returns, although at this point it may be a bit too optimistic to expect the veteran second baseman will be a savior at the position once his recovery is complete. He’s 34 years old and plays a position that historically hasn’t aged well.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski revealed earlier this season that Pedroia’s knee may be an ongoing concern that will need to be monitored the rest of his career, so we can’t assume that he’ll be as good as new following his latest surgical procedure.

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For now, the focus is on deciding who will replace Pedroia for the first two months of the 2018 season. If he struggles to come back or isn’t the same player once he does, attention may shift toward finding a new long-term solution at second base.