BOSTON -- The Red Sox are taking the cautious approach with Dustin Pedroia and his injured right thumb.The Sox are waiting for the swelling to subside in the torn abductor muscle in his right thumb before they make a decision on the next step. They can either put him on the disabled list or, if the injury is deemed not too severe, they could wait it out in the hope that he would be ready before 15 days are up.Pedroia said he injured the thumb about three weeks ago and exacerbated it in his last at-bat on Monday.In the Sox clubhouse before the third game of the four-game set against the Tigers, Pedroia showed two protective splints he has. One, a hard plastic white cast, is for normal use. The other, a slightly more flexible black cast that is molded to fit a bat, he will use if and when he is able to take swings.Manager Bobby Valentine said Pedroia has not taken any swings yet.We dont want him to, Valentine said. He did yesterday before we told him not to. And he always obeys.The last statement was made facetiously. Valentine knows Pedroia will do everything he can to stay in the lineup.We talked with Dustin his afternoon, Valentine said. Theres an absolute situation thats in place. And then we might start considering options. But were day to day.Part of this situation is the swelling, the actual physical appearance of the injury. And I think we could all see that. And then theres opinions of the medical staff. Then theres Dustins opinion, I guess. And you take everything into consideration.Asked if one party might have more say in the matter than others, Valentine replied:Well, were going to let some higher beings make that decision. And God hasnt returned a phone call yet but Ive been promised He will.But the second basemans current status leaves the Sox short-handed with middle infielders. Nick Punto is in the starting lineup again, batting ninth, playing second base.The Sox options for middle infielders off the bench?Kelly Shoppach came down with a fielders glove the other night and Salty has taken ground balls, Valentine said.How comfortable is the manager with the possibility of either of his catchers playing in the middle of the infield?Warm and fuzzy all over, he said.Kevin Youkilis, who is in the starting lineup at first base tonight, has played four total games in his career at second base, both in 2005. He played two with the Sox for a total of seven innings, getting two chances, with two assists and no errors, and two with Triple-A Pawtucket getting 10 chances, making five putouts with four assists and one error.
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Looks like I won't be allowed to visit Japan for the next 4 years. 😂😂😂 https://t.co/BCGnvpFWLh— Kevin Youkilis (@KYouk_2036) December 9, 2016
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.