David Price Pitching Advice Underscores Dustin Pedroia’s Importance To Red Sox

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BOSTON — Dustin Pedroia is not a Red Sox coach. He’s not even the team’s official captain, though he’s filled that role in the eyes of many since Jason Varitek’s retirement in 2011.

But while he lacks any job title beyond “second baseman,” Pedroia has not been shy about sharing his wisdom, observations and expertise to teammates who have needed it.

The latest example of this came over the weekend, after No. 1 Red Sox starter David Price had been roughed up in an 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Six of those runs were charged to Price, upping his ERA to a major league-worst 6.75.

Price has not been his typically dominant self since landing in Boston as a prized free agent this past offseason, and Pedroia, a frequent opponent of Price’s during the left-hander’s time with the Tampa Bay Rays, believed he might have pinpointed a reason for his ineffectiveness.

So, he told him about it, pointing out to Price that his leg lift and hand positioning have been different this season than they were in the past. Price told reporters Sunday he hadn’t even noticed these alterations, and one day later, hand separation was a focal point of the pitcher’s routine bullpen session, according to manager John Farrell.

?(Pedroia) has a unique perspective,” Farrell said before Monday’s game against the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park, “because he?s competed against (Price) in the batter?s box and knows what it looks like coming at him. And then to be standing behind him defensively and to see how right-handed hitters react and based on what he?s also felt while in the batter?s box. So, it?s a unique perspective, but we?ve seen it a number of times with Pedey that he pays attention, obviously, and is a great teammate.”

As Farrell alluded to, this weekend’s informal pitching clinic was not the first time Pedroia had offered up advice to a scuffling teammate. When then-Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was lugging around a .162 batting average in late May last season, Pedroia sat down with him for an extensive film session during a flight from Seattle to Boston.

Napoli promptly went 12-for-27 with five home runs and 11 RBIs over his next eight games, raising his average by more than 50 points in the process.

?It was a long flight,” Napoli said at the time. “We looked at some video. Obviously, I?ve been struggling, so we saw some video, some things I wasn?t doing in spring training. I wasn?t getting into my load position. He pointed that out to me. We looked at it and looked at video of what I?m doing now.?

That’s just a taste of the type of veteran leadership Pedroia brings to the clubhouse he’s called home for his entire major league career, and so far this season, his on-field production has been just as valuable. The 32-year-old entered Monday night ranked second in the American League with 41 hits and third on the Red Sox with a .306 average.

Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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