Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is expected to report to camp on time and the team is hopeful that he’ll be ready to start the season.
Coming back from a season lost to injury is never easy, particularly for a player in their mid-30’s. With that in mind, Dave Dombrowski’s comments on Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia are about as encouraging as we can expect at this stage.
Dombrowski provided a positive update on Pedroia this week, reports the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. He confirmed that the veteran second baseman is expected to join the team by the time position players are due to report next week.
"“He’s been running,” said Dombrowski. “He’s been working out in Arizona; he’s been feeling good. He’s coming into camp with the positional players. We’re hopeful that when he comes here he’ll be able to go at a pace where he’s preparing for the season. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”"
A green light to start the season on time would be great news for a player who waited until the end of May to make his season debut last year, only to land back on the shelf after only three games. However, Dombrowski warned that they won’t know his status for sure until Pedroia gets to camp and they can watch him progress on the field. Working out in Arizona is one thing, enduring daily game action over the course of a grueling schedule is a different story.
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Pedroia should be expected to ramp up activities once spring training is officially underway. Appearing in Grapefruit League games will be a pivotal hurdle along the way and the Red Sox will presumably need to see him play in back-to-back games before determining if he’ll be active to begin the regular season.
The Red Sox have Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, and Tzu-Wei Lin as the primary options to fill in at second base if Pedroia isn’t ready. Those options were available last year when the team needed to trade for Ian Kinsler mid-season to sure up their defense at the position. Kinsler left in free agency so if the Red Sox don’t get significantly more out of Pedroia this season they may be forced to make another deadline deal.
We can’t take much away from last year’s limited sample when Pedroia went 1-for-11 at the plate before his ailing knee shut him down again. Pedroia was still a productive player the previous year though when he hit .293 with a .760 OPS while providing above-average defense in 105 games.
Pedroia will need regular maintenance days throughout the season and may not play much more than he did in 2017 even if he avoids the disabled list. Anything close to what he gave the Red Sox two years ago would be an upgrade over what they had to work with last season though. Pedroia is one of the leaders of this team and his presence in the clubhouse is far more beneficial than having him rehab away from the Red Sox.
It’s been a long road back from injury but Pedroia is on the verge of proving he’s ready to contribute again. We’ll have to wait and see how he looks in camp but so far, so good.