Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had to undergo offseason surgery for a lingering knee injury that limited his production in 2017. Initially, this injury was expected to keep him out for roughly seven months, putting him back in the lineup by late May or early June. However, Pedroia has recently been cleared to start running, and seems to eyeing an Opening Day return. For the sake of the Red Sox, they better hope this doesn’t happen.
Dustin Pedroia Should Not Play Opening Day
The Red Sox will need their longest tenured player, just not in April
Image credit: Boston Herald
Pedroia’s career has been marred by injury for the last few seasons. He’s still one of the best all-around second basemen in baseball when healthy, and his glove is as good as it’s ever been. The problem is keeping him healthy. Since the 2014 season, Pedroia has played in 135, 93, 154, and 105 games out of the possible 162 games. This doesn’t include 2013, when he played 160 games through a painful wrist injury and clearly wasn’t himself.
Pedroia is the best second baseman on the roster by a large margin. Having him available for as many games as possible is crucial to the success of the Red Sox. That’s why it’s important for Pedroia to be smart with his recovery. The longtime Red Sox absolutely loves baseball, and tries to get on the field as quickly as possible. This has led to some problems in the past, such as in 2015.
Old Injury Concerns
Pedroia started 2015 on a tear. After playing through a wrist injury for the better part of two seasons, Pedroia started playing like his old self. In the season opener against Philadelphia, he hit two homers, and it looked like the Pedey of 2008 was back. However, his season hit a road block on June 24th.
Pedroia suffered a hamstring injury and missed the next sixteen games. The 2015 Red Sox weren’t good, but they still had a chance to pull out a winning season by mid-July. Pedroia tried to rush himself back into the lineup even though he wasn’t close to 100%. He ended aggravating the injury, making only six appearances before going back on the disabled list for the next 42 games. Pedroia wouldn’t return until early September, when the season had long since been a lost cause.
Playing When It Matters Most
The Red Sox will need plays like this near the playoff push
Image credit – CBS Sports
This could be a case of history repeating itself. Pedroia is clearly trying to get back into the lineup as quickly as possible, but it’s on him and the team trainers to do it smartly. It’s much more important to have a 100% healthy Pedroia in September and October than it is to have a 60% Pedroia in April.
This Red Sox team has a lot going for it. They have an enviable starting rotation led by one of the games best pitchers in Chris Sale. They have an incredibly talented young core of players, led by likely MVP candidate Mookie Betts. Barring catastrophe, this team will be playing meaningful games in September and October, and they need to have their longtime second baseman around when that happens.
Cover image courtesy of WEEI.