He's batted at every spot in the order except for fifth and sixth. He filled in for a time at the cleanup spot, hitting .650 with four doubles and two homers in 20 at-bats. He said he'd be willing (and even excited) to shift to shortstop this season, a risky move for a former Gold Glove winner at second base.
So when Dustin Pedroia says he doesn't care where he hits in the lineup, it's not hard to believe.
"Wherever they want to put me — you guys know me — I’m ready to do it," he told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Boston Herald.
When asked if he would be open to hitting fifth, Pedroia said making the move from second in the order wouldn't affect his approach.
"I don’t care," he said. "My job is to hit doubles, score runs, do the little things offensively to make us good. My job is to work the count, do everything possible that I can to be a pain in the butt. If that means hitting doubles and batting fifth, I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter."
Pedroia also reflected back to that period in 2008 when Terry Francona was out of options at the cleanup spot and called upon his 5-foot-9 second baseman to fill the void. Pedroia said the pressure wasn't on him in that situation.
"If I didn’t play well, everyone would have looked at [Francona] and said, 'What an idiot.'"
Pedroia made it clear earlier in the week that he wasn't buying into the belief that the Red Sox have turned into a strictly defensive team.
"I don’t even know what run prevention is," Pedroia told The Boston Globe, referring to Theo Epstein's terminology. "I’m a baseball player. I
don’t know how to read very good. I don’t know how to write very good.
We just go play, man. That’s it. We’ll be fine."
Pedroia also told the Globe that he's not alone with his attitude.
"The only thing I care about is if we score more runs than them,’’ he told the newspaper. “They need to put a statistic on that. It’s called wins and losses. That’s the only thing I think anybody around here cares about."
Though Pedroia seems to be willing to hit wherever Francona wants, moving him out of the No. 2 spot would likely not be an advantageous move. That's not because Pedroia wouldn't be able to handle the duties of a No. 5 hitter, but rather because there's no easy replacement in the two-hole.
Pedroia could very well be the most reliable RBI guy on this team when the season is in full gear, but if guys in front of him aren't getting on base, that value goes out the window. The Herald suggested J.D. Drew to fill the No. 2 spot, but stacking two lefties at the top of the order (assuming Jacoby Ellsbury assumes the leadoff spot) is something Francona would likely never do.
Another possibility could land Adrian Beltre in the five-spot, with the hope of him utilizing the Green Monster to drive in runs. That, of course, can only be a hope after Beltre's disappointing 2009 campaign, but the Monster revitalized Mike Lowell in 2006, and it's not overly crazy to think the same could happen for Beltre.
If not, Drew still fits in the fifth spot, likely preceded by Kevin Youkilis and followed by Beltre or Mike Cameron.
Realistically, the lineup should have several versions before it's finalized, but whatever Francona decides, Pedroia made it clear that the manager will have options.
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