Notes: Peace of mind sparks Pedroia's surge

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Notes: Peace of mind sparks Pedroia's surge

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Since finding out that nothing is structurally wrong with his right knee, Dustin Pedroia has been a different player.

Pedroia missed the final game of the series in New York to have a scope procedure, and rejoined the club Friday here. He was 3-for-4 with a walk Friday and Saturday, was 3-for-5 with another walk.

In the last two days, Pedroia has bumped his average 16 points from .247 to .263.

Secure in the knowledge that he can't do any more damage to the knee, Pedroia has made some adjustments at the plate the last two days.

Of course, it helped that, as Pedroia disclosed for the first time Saturday, he received a shot of Synvisc, a lubricating gel, for his knee, easing the discomfort he felt from the bruised kneecap.

And knowing that he can put shift some weight to his back (right) knee at the plate has allowed Pedroia to break some bad habits he had developed over the last month.

"I actually feel better,'' said Pedroia. "If I feel better, I can use my back side more and that helps me out a lot because I can get pretty out there on my front stride. This helps me stay back and I'm able to let the ball come to me.''

"We all know Pedey can deal with pain or hurting,'' said Terry Francona. "But I think the idea that he's not hurting himself really cleared his head a lot.''

Exactly a month after he was shelled here for nine runs and later uttered that "everything in my life sucks right now,'' John Lackey returned to the Rogers Centre with a much healthier right elbow and, it would seem, a better frame of mind.

It showed on the mound, too, as Lackey picked up his second win in as many starts since going on the DL with elbow inflammation. He allowed four runs over six innings to improve to 4-5.

"It felt like it was a step forward,'' he said. "I'm still building some arm strength, but the guys swung the bats pretty good and made it pretty easy for me.''

Lackey said his slider is much better since his DL stint.

The runs off him came bunched together, with a two-run double from Rajai Davis in the fourth and a two-run homer from Edward Encarnacion in the sixth, his final inning.

Otherwise, Lackey had a stretch where he retired 10 of 11 hitters so that when the team provided him with run support, he got them back into the dugout quickly to go for some more.

"I'll sit there all day if they want to keep scoring runs,'' said Lackey. "That's not something I'm ever going to complain about.''

He entered the game with a career ERA of 5.07 of Toronto, but made some adjustments Saturday.

"I'm definitely trying to change some patterns and some sequences,'' he acknowledged. "There were definitely some adjustments.''

In a lineup that bashed out 18 hits, shortstop Marco Scutaro -- getting a start with Jed Lowrie shifting to third in place of Kevin Youkilis -- had the most of anyone, recording his first four-hit game of the season.

Scutaro missed several weeks because of a strained oblique, but almost from the beginning of a brief three-game rehab assignment in the minors, has been swinging a strong bat.

"I'm swinging the bat pretty good right now,'' ackmnowledged Scutaro. "Everything's kind of settled down for me. My timing is back. That's pretty much the difference. Even before I got hurt, I was feeling a little better at the plate. You know how hitting is -- sometimes you lose the feeling and it takes a while to get it back.''

"It's huge for us,'' said Francona of the contributions of Scutaro and what it means for depth. "It's hard to go through the whole season and not have guys get nicked up or miss some time. This will really help us.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

Swihart, Wright fully recovered for Red Sox' spring training

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods both Steven Wright and Blake Swihart are ready to go for spring training.

Wright suffered a shoulder injury from sliding back into second as a pinch runner against the Dodgers in August, ending his All-Star season far too soon. The knuckleballer went 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts last season.

“His shoulder has been feeling good,” Dombrowski said of Wright, who was not at the event due to a prior engagement. “He’s out there throwing, so he feels good.”

Swihart saw his season end even sooner than Wright, after spraining his left ankle June 4 tracking down a foul ball in left field near the wall at Fenway Park. He played in only 19 games last season. 

“[Swihart] said he feels great,” Dombrowski said. “He’s going right from here down to Florida and he said he’s ready to go.”

Swihart will move back to the catcher position for spring training, with his goal of winning the job over Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. The ankle might’ve been a cause for concern had the Red Sox handled the situation differently, but by all accounts he’s OK to catch again.

“They tell me [there’s no reason for concern],” Dombrowski said. “I guess I’m really not knowledgeable to say that, but the doctors and trainers have told me no.

"That’s why they went and had the surgery because they felt the way the tendon kept slipping that [there was a] possibility it would bother him more. But after the surgery now, they feel there will not be any problems in that regard.”