It’s been a while since Boston Red Sox fans have seen Dustin Pedroia.

The real Dustin Pedroia.

The Boston Red Sox second baseman has been working to get back in action full time after undergoing four knee surgeries since the conclusion of the 2017 season — beginning with a cartilage restoration procedure shortly after that campaign ended.

Pedroia played in three games during 2018 after rushing back from surgery, but after his brief return in late May-early June he did not return the rest of the season. There’s optimism he’ll be back to form as the Sox begin their World Series defense in 2019, but with that comes plenty of understandable skepticism.

In an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, it’s clear being his old self is important to Pedroia, who had this pretty incredible quote about what bouncing back would mean to him.

“If I come back, and play the entire year,” Pedroia said, “it will be proudest I’ve been of anything I’ve ever done in baseball.

“My teammates have seen what I’ve been through,” Pedroia continued. “They saw me having to fly to Vail (Colo.) during the World Series just to see another doctor. They saw all my ups and downs. … There were a lot of tough times.”

Although the Red Sox have plenty of capable second basemen ready to go in Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez and Tzu-Wei Lin, getting Pedroia back at possibly full health will be a nice addition.

Read Nightengale’s full story on Pedroia >>>

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images