Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia could return this weekend

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

The Boston Red Sox are expected to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list this weekend during their series against the Atlanta Braves.

Dustin Pedroia is on the verge of making his 2018 debut for the Boston Red Sox. The veteran second baseman has been on the shelf all season recovering from the cartilage restoration procedure that he underwent on his left knee last October.

Manager Alex Cora told reporters that there’s a “good chance” that Pedroia plays this weekend when the Red Sox return home to host the Atlanta Braves.

This means that the Red Sox could activate the veteran second baseman as early as Friday. It’s unclear if Cora was including the series opener as part of the weekend. However, we can expect Pedroia to be in the lineup at least once during the upcoming three-game series.

Pedroia went 0-for-3 in a rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday before he was lifted after seven innings for Tzu-Wei Lin. That dropped his average to .071 during his five-game stint with the PawSox.

The lack of production at the plate is of little concern to the organization. The important takeaway is that Pedroia managed to make it through seven innings on consecutive days. That was the goal the Red Sox wanted him to hit before he would be deemed ready to join the big league club. As long as he comes out of today’s outing without any setbacks, Pedroia should get the approval to be activated.

The Red Sox will need to make a roster move to clear a spot for Pedroia. There has been much speculation regarding which players on the roster bubble will become a casualty of the roster crunch.

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Cora told WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” that the team has no intention of sending Jackie Bradley to Pawtucket to make room for Pedroia. The struggling Bradley does still have a minor league option remaining but the team still has faith in his ability to be an everyday player. They value his elite defense in center field and Bradley has finally started to show some signs of life at the plate lately.

Blake Swihart appears to be the most likely candidate to be removed from the roster. The Red Sox may be forced to designate him for assignment unless they can find a suitor for the trade his agent asked for. A trade would be the best option for all parties involved but time is running out to facilitate a deal before the Red Sox need that roster spot.

A healthy Pedroia would give the lineup a boost if he returns to pre-injury form. He hit .293 with a .761 OPS in 105 games last season. Even at age 34, Pedroia can still bring a solid glove to the field to help shore up the infield defense.

Eduardo Nunez has struggled at the plate and in the field this season. He’ll still be leaned on with Pedroia needing regular maintenance days off but putting Nunez back in a utility role would be ideal.

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The Red Sox have raced out to the best record in the majors without Pedroia. They should certainly be a better team with the veteran available. His arrival could be just what they need to put some distance between them and the rival Yankees.