Healthy Pedroia enjoying strong season for Sox

Healthy Pedroia enjoying strong season for Sox
July 15, 2013, 11:45 pm
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NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia is enjoying his best season since 2008, when he was chosen as the American League Most Valuable Player. It's no coincidence that Pedroia is also the healthiest he's been in several seasons.
Pedroia is among the league leaders in hits, runs scored, on-base percentage and doubles, while playing a near flawless second base (one error in 96 games).
While Pedroia had to play the first month or so of the season with a ligament injury in his thumb, he's appeared in all but one of the Red Sox' games.
That's a far cry from a year ago when he missed 21 games with a far more serious thumb injury, and certainly much different from 2010 when he missed more than half a season with a broken foot.
"It's been good," said Pedroia. "Earlier in the year, I had the thumb thing, but other than that, I've been able to be out there and trying to impact every game that I've been. It's definitely my job and I take a lot in pride in in-season lifting and (getting) treatment so I can be out there. So it's been great."
Pedroia hasn't felt the frustration he felt in past season when he was either sidelined or playing at far less than 100 percent.
"The foot thing was I think the toughest thing I've been through," he said, "because our team was playing so great. We were in first place and we just had a bunch of injuries. I broke my foot and a lot of guys got hurt (Clay Buchholz, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek) that was frustrating.
"Last year, the other thumb thing was just a freak deal: my hand slipped off the bat and caught me in a bad situation and I got jammed real bad. But those things are part of the game -- you go through the knick-knack injuries as an everyday player. You just have to find a way to play through."
Pedroia plays the game hard with an almost reckless playing style that includes head-first slides and acrobatic plays around the second-base bag. That kind of approach not only puts him at risk for injury, but is difficult to maintain when he's not completely healthy.
"(When you're healthy) your only thought is to play the game," he said. "You don't have to worry about sliding (differently) or taking a swing a certain way. It's definitely easier on you mentally."