With the team charter landing in Boston at 4 a.m. on
Friday from St. Petersburg, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine planned to give the
second baseman a breather in the series opener against the Orioles to spend
time alongside his newborn child.
"I was thinking about playing [Mike Aviles] at
second base today and giving Dustin this day off," Valentine said. "I
know him with family and business, but he really wanted to play today."
After urging Valentine to keep him in, Pedroia was
penciled in to hit third in Friday's lineup against the Orioles. And the Red
Sox skipper wasn't surprised by the slugger's dedication to the team.
"That’s Dustin," Valentine said. "You’ve
got to love him. He has no injuries that he’s dealing with, and he brought
[older son] Dylan to the ballpark at 1 instead. I told him to stay home late
and come late, and instead he came at the regular time and took a little stress
away from [wife] Kelli at home, took Dylan with him. He was fine. By 2 o’clock,
he was insisting."
Through 131 games this season, Pedroia has launched 15
home runs and 62 RBIs while batting .286.