It’s now been over a month since the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia was scratched from the lineup for a pivotal game in Houston.
It was actually the last time that Pedroia was seen on the field doing any ‘baseball activities,’ in fact, despite the initial belief that a 10-day disabled list stint would have done enough to push No. 15 closer to 100 percent. Baseball activities as a whole have been few and far between for the embattled Pedroia this season, too, as he has been deemed fit to play in just three of Boston’s 92 games to date this season. And the 5-foot-9 Pedroia mustered up just one hit in 11 at-bats over that three-game span, leading you to believe he was anything but fully ready to go when called upon this season.
To add to the misery of those numbers and his situation, its worth noting that the Red Sox officially said that they do not expect to see the second baseman back any time soon, as confirmed by Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Tuesday.
In fact, he won’t even be with the team, as Pedroia has elected to return to Arizona and go through physical therapy on his surgically-repaired knee (a surgery Pedroia called the ‘toughest’ he’s had in an interview earlier this season) on his own.
Pedroia will head back to his home in Arizona to continue physical therapy at the place he rehabbed this winter. Cora still expects him back this year but not anytime soon. No timetable to return. Want him to focus on strengthening muscles supporting knee—glute, hamstring, core— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) July 10, 2018
As noted by McCaffrey, Cora continues to believe that his team will see Pedroia back on the field at some point this season. When that is, however, is at its height of uncertainty following this latest development.
With Pedroia on the shelf, the Red Sox will have to continue to soldier on with what they have at second base.
Eduardo Nunez has received the bulk of action in Pedroia’s spot, with a team-leading 61 starting nods at second. But Nunez, who dealt with knee issues of his own this past offseason, has struggled, with a .256 average on the year. Brock Holt, meanwhile, has done his part as a fill-in, with a .296 average and .376 on-base percentage, along with 26 total starts at second base.
The club also signed veteran infielder Brandon Phillips, who split last year with the Braves and Angels and hit .285 between the two, to a minor-league contract as a Hail Mary attempt at fixing second base. The 37-year-old Phillips is 3-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs through his first three games with the Single-A Lowell Spinners.
But with the July 31st trade deadline looming — and knowing that Pedroia is the furthest thing from a guaranteed return to the diamond at anything close to 100 percent — Dave Dombrowski could have a ramped-up interest in external options.
The most appealing could be Oakland’s Jed Lowrie, who has made 71 appearances at second base this season, and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career this week. Lowrie, whose career began with the Red Sox, is hitting .286 with 16 homers to date, and it’s believed that the Red Sox expressed an interest in him last season before trading for Nunez.
If there’s any comfort to be found in this situation, however, it comes from the fact that the Red Sox have still managed to post an MLB-best 63 wins on the year despite having Pedroia at their disposal for just 27 innings in all.