Down: Dustin Pedroia
This one hurts to write, but unfortunately it has to be written. Not long ago, Red Sox fans and the team itself were eagerly awaiting the return of stalwart second baseman Dustin Pedroia from a knee injury. His always reliable defense would end the roller-coaster that was Eduardo Nunez‘s defense at second, and his bat would be more than welcome in a lineup that had a few too many soft-spots.
You see, though Pedroia may no longer be the hitter who won Rookie of the Year and MVP in back-to-back seasons, the Laser Show isn’t yet over. Just last season, though again hampered by injuries, Pedroia hit .293, with 7 home runs and 19 doubles in 105 games. A year before that, he played 154 games, his highest total since 2013, and clubbed 15 homers and 36 doubles while batting .318. His offense really isn’t far behind him, and he should still have some ahead of him. His glove, of course, is never in question.
The problem, unfortunately, is his health. Pedroia’s comeback lasted a mere three games before knee inflammation landed him back on the disabled list. While that’s hardly any sort of meaningful sample size and he deserves a chance to shake the rust off, he tallied just a single hit in those three games. The 2016 season was Pedey’s only healthy year out of the past five. All athletes play hurt at some point or another, and Pedroia is as tough and gritty as they come. Yet, even the toughest can only play through pain for so long. Sadly, we have to start wondering how much more Pedroia’s body can take. We could be watching the Laser Show’s finale.