Dustin Pedroia was limited to just nine games over the final three years of his Major League Baseball career, which officially ended Monday when the Boston Red Sox second baseman announced his retirement.
He didn’t suit up at all in 2020, and the writing had been on the wall for a while that Pedroia’s playing days likely were over because of injuries.
Still, calling it quits never is easy, especially for someone whose entire life has been devoted to the game he so passionately loves.
“When I was in Little League, I would get ready at 5 in the morning for a noon game,” Pedroia recalled Monday during a video conference with reporters. “I did this my entire life, and to have it just stop, and then you fight to get it back, it’s tough. But everybody around me knows how hard I worked to try to get back, and that’s enough for me.”
Pedroia is fortunate he literally can walk away from baseball. Several knee surgeries in recent years disrupted not only his playing career but his everyday life, with extensive pain and rehab becoming the norm.
“Now I just wanna be healthy. I wanna impact the younger generation with the stories I have and the things that I’ve gone through and the adversity that I’ve dealt with,” Pedroia said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do now and I look forward to it.”
So, what exactly is next for Pedroia? Time will tell.
While he acknowledged he’s interested in sticking around baseball, perhaps ultimately paving the way for him to assume a role within the Red Sox organization, he’s focused first and foremost on spending time with his family. Pedroia and his wife, Kelli, have three sons, Dylan, Cole and Brooks.
“Honestly, you know me, I’m worried about my middle son’s flag football practice at 4 (o’clock). We’ll start there,” Pedroia said when asked about his retirement plans. “But obviously I’ll be in the game somehow. I’m always gonna be around. I’m always here for everybody in the Red Sox organization. They’ve done so much for me.
“Right now, my youngest son is 6. So I definitely want to be involved (in baseball). But I don’t know in what capacity yet. I think when all my boys are out of the house, that’s when things will change to more of a greater role with the organization. Just right now, I wanna enjoy being a dad and having fun with my boys and just being here. Not worrying about rehabbing all day long or worried about what game we’re playing and things like that. I wanna just be normal for a little bit. But when that time comes, and when it’s time, it’s 100 percent into whatever I choose to do.”
Pedroia understandably was emotional while discussing all his family’s been through during his MLB career, namely the final few years as he fought to overcome injuries. But Pedroia is looking forward to coaching his middle son’s baseball team — “there’s something else I’m gonna be able to do and I’m good at it,” he said — and he’ll perhaps explore other options at the professional level when the time is right.
“I’m open to anything, but I wanna make sure my kids have the same upbringing I had when I was a kid,” Pedroia said. “And coaching or managing, that’s a lot of time. And I’ve just played a long time, and I was the first one at the field every single day, and I wanna make sure these years for my kids are the most important and I’m there in every single way. I don’t wanna miss a thing in their life. They deserve that.”
They deserve that, sure. And so does Pedroia, a guy who played the game the right way until his body just couldn’t handle it anymore.