The Boston Red Sox will be kicking off their spring training workouts this week, but they’ll be doing so without their longtime second baseman.
Earlier this week, the Red Sox finally named Ron Roenicke as the interim manager and the former bench coach has been busy ever since. He has spoken on a litany of topics since being named the interim skipper, one of which was the status of his veteran second baseman.
It was reported a short while ago that Dustin Pedroia had suffered another setback with his surgically repaired left knee. This came as a blow to Red Sox Nation after a winter of positivity coming from Pedroia’s home base in Arizona. Things had seemingly been going well on his road back to Fenway Park, but as we’ve seen before, it wasn’t meant to be.
The latest setback will keep him from joining his teammates in Fort Myers to begin spring training on Monday.
I’ll never tell anyone what to do with their life let alone tell them that they need to give up on their dream. However, at this point, it’s so hard to see Dustin try and try again just to be taken out at the knees, literally. Pedey has given the Red Sox everything he’s ever had in the tank during his tenure in Boston and owes us nothing.
It may be time to start thinking about the next chapter in his career if his body simply won’t allow him to continue doing what he loves.
"“He’s still sore,” interim manager Ron Roenicke said Thursday at JetBlue Park. “The knee is still sore. So the setback is still there. He won’t be here Monday. And he’s just going to try to evaluate what happens here. He’s going to continue to talk to the people in Arizona and (head trainer) Brad (Pearson) to figure out what the next step is and where he goes from it.”"
Getting Pedroia back for 2020 always felt like a longshot but with the positive recovery path he was on after his most recent procedure, it actually felt like a reality. He’s only played in nine games over the last two seasons and unfortunately, that may be the final nine games of his playing career.
When he went down early in 2019 the Red Sox had to scramble to find replacements and would settle on a battery of Brock Holt, Tzu-Wei Lin, Eduardo Nunez, Marco Hernandez, and rookie Michael Chavis. All five would get their chances and it would eventually come down to Holt, Hernandez, and Chavis holding down the position.
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As we begin spring training for the 2020 season many of those names aren’t going to be in camp. Newly acquired second baseman Jose Peraza is the favorite to make the Opening Day roster at second but will get some serious competition from Chavis.
There’s also the slim chance that the Red Sox re-sign Holt in free agency. So Roenicke will have a better idea of what he has at second base than former manager Alex Cora did last year when Pedroia went down.
It’s a shame to see such a player have his career ripped from his hands well before it should come to an end. Again, nobody knows what the future holds for Pedey, not even himself, the human body can be tricky like that. Only time will tell if he’ll be able to leave up the cleats again and feel the grass of Fenway Park.
"“Whenever you see a great player — age is different. When a guy ages and then he’s not as good, that part’s easy to see. But not a guy that has an injury and because of it has not been able to perform. That part is really difficult,” Roenicke added."
This is going to be a trying season for the Red Sox. There’s still that pesky investigation that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred may or may not ever complete ongoing. Having Pedroia run into another setback right as spring training is about to kick-off is a tough pill to swallow for everyone.
Roenicke hit the ball perfectly when speaking on seeing a player age as their career comes to an end. It’s one thing for someone to play out their days and have a full career on the diamond before their decline begins. It’s another to see an injury steal the time away from the athlete before they themselves can decide it’s time to hang ’em up.
The Red Sox have a serious hill to climb in 2020 and they may have to do so without their longest-tenured player. As it stands right now the likelihood of seeing Dustin Pedroia in a Boston uniform this season is slim to none, but you never know. If this does wind up being it for the second baseman, he’s had one hell of a ride.