One of the questions that will be hanging over the Boston Red Sox during spring training — and beyond, most likely — is the health of Dustin Pedroia.
After undergoing knee surgery following the 2017 season, the second baseman played in just three games in 2018. He’s since admitted he tried to come back too soon, and given the nature of the procedure he underwent and that he’s 35 years old, there’s healthy skepticism about how much he’ll be able to contribute in the Red Sox’s title defense.
After the first day of pitcher and catcher workouts at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski gave an update on Pedroia’s health and explained how they plan to handle second base duties this season.
“(Pedroia) says he feels good,” Dombrowski said, via NBC Sports Boston. “My answer really hasn’t changed throughout the winter time. He feels good, our medical reports on him are good. Until he gets here day in and day out will we get the chance to see — I don’t think that it’s one day, it’s probably a matter of the build-up, of the pounding on a daily basis and how he handles it.
“We’re still not looking at a 150-game player,” Dombrowski later added. “We’re hopeful that he’s a 125-game player at this point. We do feel we have some people who are solid and can fill in. To fill in if (Pedroia) plays 120, guys like (Brock) Holt, a guy like (Eduardo) Nunez coming over there. Even some depth with Tzu-Wei Lin in our organization we like a great deal. They are also capable of playing more games, that combination. But we’re hopeful that Pedey will be the guy. The main guy.”
Pedroia being able to play at 100 percent will be a nice boost for the Red Sox, and him playing 120 games may be the ideal way to get the best out of him. Holt, Lin and Nunez all are more than capable of being everyday second basemen, so the Red Sox have plenty of suitable replacements when they need to limit Pedroia’s workload.
In 2017, his last somewhat full season, Pedroia hit .293 with seven home runs and 62 RBIs in 105 games.