Pedroia featured on latest Sports Illustrated cover

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Pedroia featured on latest Sports Illustrated cover

Dustin Pedroia will be featured on the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated as the "heart" of the Red Sox.

In the story by Tom Verducci, Pedroia reveals, among other things, how his latest nickname came to be.

Pedroia says his latest moniker, the Muddy Chicken, came about during the postgame meal following Bostons 10, 16-inning win over Tampa Bay in June:

David Ortiz was eating this chicken from the Dominican Republic," he told SI. "I dont know who he got it from. But it was bleeping disgusting. So I said, I want to be called that. Bleeping Muddy Chicken. They started laughing, so they started calling me that. And it was a 16-inning game, and I think there were some cocktails involved in some peoples interviews. Thats basically it. And then we got back home and, thanks to New Balance, there are boxes of Muddy Chicken T-shirts. Im like, Whats wrong with you guys?

Pedroia also gets some backhanded praise from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen:

I love that little guy," Guillen tells SI. "It looks like he escaped from Cirque du Soleil and they put a uniform on him.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.