We’re less than a month from Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers reporting to Fort Myers, Fla., but Dustin Pedroia will get ahead of the crowd later this week.

The Red Sox second baseman played in just three games for Boston during the 2018 Major League Baseball season after undergoing knee surgery in 2017. He was sidelined again in May after re-aggravating his knee and returned home to Arizona and underwent another knee procedure.

The 35-year-old will begin running this week in Arizona and seems confident he will be with his team come Opening Day.

“Listen, I’m in a lot better position right now than I was last year,” Pedroia told Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam. “I’m very confident and excited that I’m going to be able to do it and go forward. Now I understand a lot more than I did last year. I was trying to heal while I was rehabbing and that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I’ve taken time and changed my rehab philosophy, let my knee heal a lot more and I feel good.”

Pedroia noted he feels much better than he did in May when he was trying to play through pain.

“I feel a lot better. We were following the doctor’s order and were told there was supposed to be some discomfort and I was pushing through things that I probably shouldn’t have,” he said. “Looking back on it, that wasn’t the smartest thing to do. Right now, compared to when I came back and (briefly) played, I’m a lot better. I’m very confident and doing all I can to come back and prove a lot of people wrong.”

It’s unclear whether Pedroia will start the 2019 season healthy, but he plans to begin spring training without anything holding him back.

“In my mind, I’m coming into (spring training) not as a rehab guy, but as an everyday player that, yes, is coming back from an injury,” Pedroia said. “But I don’t see myself having any restrictions.”

Click here to read McAdam’s full conversation with Pedroia >>>

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