Just as the Red Sox lose another player to the disabled list, as David Ortiz takes a 15-day hiatus, they're expected to welcome back another valued member of the team in Dustin Pedroia on Thursday. Only this time, the scenery may be a bit different for the second baseman.
Pedroia, who hasn't played since suffering a thumb injury on July 3, is set to be activated from the DL on Thursday, and could find himself hitting out of a new spot in the batting order upon his return.
Bobby Valentine seemed excited by the prospect of Pedroia's return to the lineup, but indicated that he may find himself batting from a different spot in the order.
"He's such an important part of our team, and so much fun to watch play. For his sake as well as ours, I hope he gets back in tomorrow," Valentine said before Wednesday night's game. "I don't think you need to worry where someone is hitting in the lineup. We'll try to get as good a lineup as we can everyday we go out there."
The impact that Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have had hitting out of the No. 1 and 2 holes during their first two games together — a combined 6-for-16 with five runs and four steals — has provided the Red Sox with the type of spark they envisioned when investing $142 million in Crawford last offseason. It would also offer Valentine the type of front-end speed that he desires near the top of his lineup, as well as adding more stability throughout the rest of the order.
Pedroia is far more comfortable hitting out of the second spot, though, where he's spent 76 percent of his career at bats. He's a career .306 hitter and has been very effective in getting on base from the position as well.
If the move were to be made, Pedroia may feel a bit out of his comfort zone. But as the three-time All-Star has shown time and time again throughout his career, he always puts the needs of the team before himself. And he will almost certainly take the same approach if he's propositioned with such a change upon his return.
Either way, it will be a welcome addition to a lineup very much in need of stability.