Dustin Pedroia, a man who once was considered a player as gritty as they come, is now looking to return from injury to play in just his fourth game of the season.
The 35-year-old is coming off of a season where he battled various knee injuries to fight through 109 games—including the playoffs—in 2017. While he was a non-factor in October, having a man with the same postseason experience as the 5-foot-9 second baseman from Arizona State just makes the average fan feel much more comfortable about the team.
However, in 2018, there are many different circumstances. Having acquired Ian Kinsler from the Angels, the Red Sox no longer have a need for Pedroia in 2018. Yes, Kinsler is due to become a free agent after this season, making the status of Pedroia’s knee that much more critical in 2019. So to rush him back, and sit down a relatively hot bat in Ian Kinsler just doesn’t make much sense.
As recent as 2016, Red Sox Nation held Pedroia on a pedestal as one of the greatest Red Sox to ever play, especially at second base. Injuries and his determination to come back ahead of schedule have since put a damper on his legacy here in Boston, and we’ve already seen that in 2018. Pedroia came back on May 26 against the Braves, played three games in which he went a combined 1-11, and then has been on the disabled list since then.
He’s not the youthful infielder he once was, so Pedroia being 100 percent when he returns is absolutely essential in prolonging his career. While we all know of his competitive nature, it’s what’s best for him. On top of that, it’s what’s best for the team. Even with a mini-stretch of .500 ball, they still hold a 7.5 game lead on the best record in baseball. They’ve been clicking, and to potentially have to remove a guy like Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr., or even Kinsler, just to reinsert Pedroia at 75 percent seems problematic.
Pedroia has been rehabbing back home in Arizona and is set to fly back to Boston on Sept. 5, ahead of their series with the Astros. Manager Alex Cora was unclear on if he would feature in any games for the rest of the season, but for Pedroia’s sake, he shouldn’t.