Dustin Pedroia is impressed.
The Boston Red Sox second baseman has been keeping tabs on the Major League Baseball postseason while recovering from thumb/wrist surgery at his Arizona home. San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik has caught Pedroia?s eye.
?He?s a winning player,? Pedroia recently told The Boston Globe?s Nick Cafardo. ?He?s young. He?s going to get better and better.?
Panik has been excellent since taking over as the Giants? starting second baseman after Marco Scutaro went down with a back injury. The 2011 first-round draft pick hit .305 with one homer, 18 RBIs and a .343 on-base percentage in 73 regular-season games. He hit a two-run homer off St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in Game 5 of the NLCS to help punch the Giants? ticket to the 2014 World Series.
Pedroia obviously knows a thing or two about winning on the big stage, so his praise of a fellow second baseman shouldn?t be taken lightly. Clearly, Panik, who turns 24 later this month, has a very bright future.
The Kansas City Royals, who will be tasked with stopping Panik and the Giants in the Fall Classic, also have caught Pedroia?s attention.
?The pitching, defense, and speed of the Royals has really put a lot of pressure on the opposing team,? Pedroia told Cafardo. ?We had that with (Shane Victorino). We did it the year before. ? like the infield hit Vic hit (during Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS) in Tampa Bay. You can really make something happen with speed.?
Pedroia certainly is hoping for an opportunity to wow his baseball brethren next October. For now, the four-time All-Star will soak up the action.
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