Dustin Pedroia has had an incredible career with the Boston Red Sox and there’s no disputing that. The three-time World Series Champion–including last season’s title–made a name for himself early, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and the American League MVP in 2008.
His gritty playing style and his love for the game were always on full display. It was identified early by baseball fans and beat reporters alike that Pedroia, a Red Sox farm system product, would bleed for the sport that he adored so much.
The past couple of years haven’t been too kind to the second baseman though and truthfully, this is something that I’ve always anticipated.
Pedroia has consistently put it all on the line. He’s sacrificed his body year after year in order to make the most simplistic play in throwing a guy out at first base no matter what the circumstances.
It felt like this was always inevitable, but Pedroia has had limited time on the field the past two seasons and that’s been due to a nagging knee injury that he can’t shake.
In 2018, the dirt dog of an infielder made it into the Red Sox lineup just three times before his knee got the best of him once again. He would leave for surgery and rehab in hopes that 2019 would be different.
While Sox fans have indeed seen Pedy on the field in this infant season, it’s only been for six games before he was forced to exit the field at Yankee Stadium following one at-bat with more knee discomfort. He hasn’t been back yet–although he is scheduled to take a rehab start in Double-A Portland this Thursday–but if he isn’t able to return to the field, the anticipated future hall of famer is okay with that.
In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, Pedroia had this to say.
“If my knee can’t do it and I don’t play again, I don’t have one regret.” He continued, “I never took one play off in my life. It’s unfortunate that I got hurt. But you can’t control that.”
First and foremost, this quote tells me that there’s been a realistic realization by the second baseman that this knee injury he’s battled might not be something that even he can overcome. He’s done everything he can to play again and at this point, it appears as though it’s out of his hands.
Pedroia has given his heart and soul to the sport of baseball and again, has had an illustrious career. If he were to retire now, despite most likely doing everything he can to make his way back to the diamond, his career will be remembered in high regard.
His numbers haven’t been anything spectacular during his brief stretch of games so far in early April, but if he is somehow able to return healthy, I anticipate those stats to climb at least to something of a respectable level.
In six games played and 20 at-bats, Pedroia has just two hits. But after taking essentially an entire season off, you’d expect a slow start to things anyway.
If the end result becomes Pedroia hanging up the cleats ahead of schedule this season, we’ll look back at his numbers and commemorate a solid career.
Since his debut as a pudgy prospect in 2006, Pedroia has built a career batting average of .299, a .365 OBP, a .439 SLG, and an .805 OPS.
While we watch as his potential future replacement has a relatively strong start to his young career in Boston, we sit and wait as we once again watch the gritty and determined veteran claw his way back into the starting lineup despite the naysayers who think we’ve watched his final MLB at-bat. And like always, he’s out to prove them wrong.
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