Pedroia 'banged up' but back in Red Sox lineup

Pedroia 'banged up' but back in Red Sox lineup
August 18, 2013, 6:45 pm
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BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia is in the lineup and batting third a day after fouling a ball hard off of his ankle, which required the Red Sox to replace him defensively in the ninth inning of their 6-1 win over the Yankees.

Manager John Farrell admitted that the second baseman was "banged up a little bit," but insisted that there was no concern Pedroia might further injure himself by playing Sunday night.

Playing at less than 100 percent has been par for the course for Pedroia this season. On Opening Day he suffered a thumb injury that has appeared to be a lingering issue that may not be fully healed until season's end.

"He leads by example," Farrell said. "In situations like this, or his thumb, or how he goes about every at bat, the way he plays defense . . . We also know he's a vocal leader in his own right. But his actions speak volumes and much louder than anything he could possibly say. He's full of grit and sets the tone for how we play this game."

Farrell knows that if the Red Sox opted to rest Pedroia a night before heading to the West Coast for two interleague series with the Giants and Dodgers, he'd get an earful from Pedroia.

"If his name wasn't in the lineup, I guarantee he'd be in my office," Farrell said. "He's earned the right to speak his mind. We trust what he says, with how he feels, or what he's feeling at the plate, or any area of his game. Honestly, coming in here today, this wasn't even a second thought in my mind that he wouldn't be in the lineup."

Despite his nagging health issues, Pedroia has been one of Boston's most dependable players this season. Though he hit a bit of a snag in the last month (he's hitting .223 in the last four weeks), he's still hitting .292 with an on-base percentage of .371 and an OPS of .773.

Still, he is not the prototypical No. 3 hitter. He's never truly been a significant middle-of-the-order power threat. This season he has 28 doubles and eight homers with 69 RBI.

He's slugging just .402, a significant dip from his career .453 slugging percentage.

Farrell said that he believes Pedroia's drop in power has come as a result of the way he's being pitched and not any injury that may be limiting him at the plate.

"I still think it's more a circumstance where pitchers are going to attack him down and away primarily," Farrell said. "And he takes his base hits the other way. We've seen when they've made mistakes on the inside of the plate or tried to attempt to pitch and execute in there, he's still shown the ability to turn on it."