By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS -- Friday morning was a vivid reminder that while a broken foot caused Dustin Pedroia to miss almost half of last season, there was never any damage to his spirit.
Determined, upbeat and filled with more than a little spunk, Pedroia, in his first day at the Player Development Complex, maintained that the foot had healed completely and he expects no complications.
"I feel great . . . ready to go and I'm and excited to be here," said Pedroia.
Pedroia must still do some maintenance on the foot, but said that won't hold him back from having a normal spring training.
"I pretty much have to do my stuff in the training room to get ready," he said, "but I don't think it will be a problem."
Some Red Sox officials had hinted Pedroia might be rested more once the Grapefruit League scheduled begins, but the second baseman didn't anticipate scaling back his workload.
"I haven't talked to manager Terry Francona about anything like that," Pedroia said, "but I don't think that's necessary. Whatever they have planned for me, I'm ready to do."
Pedroia recently revealed that his winter rehab featured some "ups and downs," but Friday, he downplayed that aspect of his recovery.
"What I was trying to say," he said, "was when you have an injury like this, you try to find ways that make you feel right. There are so many different areas of your foot and I have to get my leg back to normal. Some of the things I was trying to do weren't the right things to do.
"But we found a way to make me feel strong and I feel great right now. It was just trying to get everything working together. If one part of my leg isn't firing, then it's going to affect my foot. But we kind of figured out what the problem was and the last three weeks, I felt great."
Pedroia will be excused from the taxing shuttle run which the team will conduct next week to measure fitness, but other than that, will be cleared for all activity.
"I've already taken ground balls, turned double plays, run the bases -- I've done everything," he said. "I'm ready to go . . . My foot's repaired. There's a screw in there holding everything together. It's a ton better. I feel great. There's not going to be any setbacks or anything like that."
In addition to a foot which is mended, Pedroia returns to a Red Sox team which has been upgraded by free agent signings and trades. Informed that new teammate Carl Crawford told USA Today that he can't wait to play with Pedroia, whom he labeled a "little firecracker," Pedroia said: "What a shocker.
"I worked out with Carl for probably three or four years at API in Arizona when I was there. I'm glad he's on our team. It's a pain in the butt playing against him. He's running wild. It's going to be fun playing with him on our side.
"Everyone's real excited. We're fired up. Everyone's healthy. It's going to be fun."
With Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez joining the Red Sox lineup, Pedroia is unsure -- and apparently, unconcerned -- where he's going to hit in the batting order.
"I don't care," he said. "I don't think anyone cares."
Pedroia acknowledge that his patience was tested during his rehab.
"It's been tough," he said. "You try to set little goals, stuff like that. The other day was my last workout and I was kind of excited. I put a lot of hard work in and I'm ready for it to show on the field."