Dustin Pedroia Back For Opening Day? Red Sox Star Not Ruling It Out

The expectation has been that Dustin Pedroia, who underwent surgery on his left knee on Oct. 25, will miss the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.

The Boston Red Sox second baseman isn’t quite ready to make that concession, however.

Pedroia told Rob Bradford this week on WEEI’s “Bradfo Sho” podcast that he’s not ruling out being ready for when the Red Sox open their season March 29 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

“That’s been the great part of the process. If I’m able to hit milestones, I do more and keep testing the area,” Pedroia said. “That’s the difference between having my knee fixed than to when it wasn’t fixed — I couldn’t hit any milestones. I couldn’t make gains because physically my knee was blown out. I could only get to a point to where I could last a four-hour game. Now, I am getting ready for 162 (games) plus the playoffs. That’s my mindset and that’s how I feel. My legs are strong again.

“I’m hoping that I get cleared next Wednesday to start running and get after it. That way, that leaves me enough time to get to spring training to where I’m a part of it from the get-go and that is all I want.”

It’s perhaps unrealistic to believe Pedroia actually will be ready for Opening Day. The Red Sox said in a press release announcing his surgery back in October that it was expected he’d return to game action in approximately seven months, which would mean late May. The 34-year-old apparently is feeling good physically, though, so it’s unsurprising he’s tackling his current recovery with a full head of steam.

The Red Sox have several internal options available if Pedroia isn’t ready for the start of this season, including Brock Holt, Deven Marrero, Marco Hernandez and Tzu-Wei Lin. They also could look outside the organization for additional infield depth. Perhaps they’ll even consider bringing back Eduardo Nunez, a free agent who’s drawn interest from the Red Sox this offseason after finishing his 2016 season with Boston.

Either way, Pedroia is an important piece for the Red Sox despite coming off a year in which he played just 105 games, posting a .293/.369/.392 slash line to go with seven home runs and 62 RBIs.

“I’m pushing through and getting better every day,” Pedroia told Bradford. “I’m doing everything right now but running and jumping. I feel great. I’m strong. Next step is getting cleared to run and then go from there.”

Thumbnail photo via Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports Images

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