Though the Red Sox left Fenway Park victorious on Saturday, Dustin Pedroia‘s 30th birthday ended with a swift kick to the shin.
Pedroia fouled off an Adam Warren pitch just above his left foot in the eighth inning of Boston’s 6-1 win over the Yankees — the same foot he broke in similar fashion back in 2010. He remained in the game to complete the at-bat, striking out swinging, before being replaced at second base by Brock Holt the following inning.
It was a scary moment for Sox fans and teammates alike, as Pedroia remained down for several seconds and was examined by the coaching staff before returning to the batter’s box. After undergoing preliminary tests, though, manager John Farrell does not believe the injury will have any lasting effects.
“He’s sore,” Farrell said after the game. “The foul ball got him just above the ankle, on the shin. We’ll check him in the morning, but at this point we don’t anticipate [him] missing any time.
“He had a fluoroscan done here at the ballpark, which was negative. So, right now everything points to it being a negative situation. If he comes in tomorrow with any soreness, we’ll take every precaution needed.”
Pedroia struggled at the plate on his birthday — at 0-for-5, he was the only Red Sox batter not to reach base — but he was flawless in the field. Boston starter John Lackey induced a season-high 15 ground-ball outs in the win — his first in over a month — and Pedroia handled all seven that came his way, including a sliding stop in the hole to rob Alex Rodriguez of a base hit in the sixth.
While most of Pedroia’s teammates agreed with Farrell’s assessment of the injury (“I think he’ll be fine,” Stephen Drew said after the game), even the chance of losing one of the team’s most consistent players, especially in the heat of a playoff race, is cause for concern.
“At this point, we can’t lose anybody,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Pedey, David [Ortiz], a bullpen guy; we can’t lose anybody. So it scares you. Obviously, that’s the foot he broke before, so you don’t want him to reinjure it. Thankfully it was up higher, so it didn’t get right there on the foot. But I think regardless, if he broke it or not, he’d be out there playing, especially in this situation.”
Pedroia has been a workhorse for the Red Sox this season, playing in a team-high 124 of Boston’s first 125 games. He has not missed a game in over two months, last sitting out on June 16. Even a body as durable as Pedroia’s begins to show some wear after that kind of daily stress.
Though every game is crucial as the regular season winds down, a banged-up Pedroia could cripple the Sox’ chances in October. If he shows any lingering symptoms come Sunday, giving him a night off might not be a bad idea.