As long as they are mathematically alive in the chase for a playoff spot, the Red Sox will field the best team they can on a daily basis. But the preparation for 2011 has begun in earnest for several players.
The latest to cast a glance toward spring training is Dustin Pedroia, who reportedly will undergo a CT scan on Friday to determine whether he needs season-ending surgery. Pedroia joins Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron and likely Jacoby Ellsbury among those whose dreams of 2010 glory are all but dashed.
When Pedroia returned for two games in the middle of August but still had soreness in the foot, he was placed on the disabled list and in a protective boot for the second time with the hope that another week would allow for increased healing. Even while he waited for a rapid recovery, the former MVP seemed resigned to the fact that the most important thing is to make sure he arrives in Fort Myers, Fla., ready to rebound.
“I will be as good as new,” he recently told reporters when asked what the positives of surgery are.
Speaking Thursday from Baltimore, Pedroia reinforced that notion.
“I don’t want to get to January, go through my workouts and don’t feel good and miss some of next year,” he said. “None of us want that to happen. I think putting in the screw is probably the best idea.”
That’s the same tune that was sung by Youkilis after he had a torn adductor muscle in his left thumb repaired. Cameron echoed such sentiments when his abdominal issues were rectified by a session under the knife last Friday, saying that after all the pain he had been through just to try to play, the finality of surgery was a welcomed relief.
Ellsbury has yet to concede, but there are no indications that he will return before March, and with the Sox’ deficit in the wild-card race a sizable one, there is no need for him to rush back if and when he miraculously recovers. It’s already been a bit of a lost season for him anyway — might as well move on and start anew in the spring.
It leaves four members of the Opening Night starting lineup, including three of the top four hitters in the order, hungry for the first day of spring weeks before autumn even arrives.
Right-hander Josh Beckett, who himself has had an injury-plagued campaign, said Wednesday in Baltimore that while he and his teammates would love to be in a better position relative to New York and Tampa Bay, they will relish the role of spoilers if that’s what it comes down to. The line was one of the first real concessions to the reality of the situation.
It is not exactly the way a perennial playoff team would want to tackle the stretch run. With so many key players already looking forward to 2011, a group which now includes Pedroia, it might be the only option.
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