Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has officially been shut down for the rest of the 2018 season but should be ready for next year.
We pretty much all expected this but now it’s official. Dustin Pedroia will not return to the field for the Boston Red Sox this season.
The team revealed on Friday that Pedroia underwent minor surgery in July to clean up some cartilage in his knee. He’s apparently progressing well in his recovery but there simply isn’t time left on the schedule for Pedroia to make it back this season.
He has been hitting and doing some fielding work but Pedroia would need more time to get back up to game speed. With the minor league schedule having already concluded, there aren’t opportunities for Pedroia to get his groove back. A Red Sox team preparing for a postseason run can’t afford to let him work it out in the big leagues.
The veteran second baseman is expected to be ready to go by spring training next year.
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Pedroia has missed all but three games this season while recovering from knee surgery. He made his season debut on May 26 and was back on the disabled list by the beginning of June. He went 1-for-11 with a pair of walks and a run scored in the limited action he saw this season.
The good news is that the Red Sox were prepared for this and have second base covered. Mid-season acquisition Ian Kinsler is nearly Pedroia’s equal in the field and has been heating up at the plate. Kinsler is now batting .310/.355/.408 in 21 games with the Red Sox.
Eduardo Nunez may be a defensive liability at second base but at least he has plenty of experience at the position. He’s off to a slow start this month but hit .283 with a .725 OPS in August. Brandon Phillips was the hero of Wednesday’s game, potentially earning the natural second baseman some extra playing time. Tzu-Wei Lin is another infielder added as a September call-up who can play second base in a pinch. Then there is Brock Holt, who is always an option to play everywhere.
Even if Pedroia was deemed available to return, there’s no guarantee he’d find regular playing time with so many other options on the roster.
Pedroia still has three years and $40 million remaining on his contract. Kinsler is a free agent after this season and Nunez could be if the Red Sox don’t pick up his $4 million option. That potentially opens up sufficient playing time for Pedroia in 2019, if he’s healthy.