Dustin Pedroia's Comeback Takes an Ominous Turn

April 18, 2019 - 12:45 pm

BOSTON (WEEI) -- Perhaps this is a hiccup. Maybe it is just part of an unpredictable process.

But when it comes to Dustin Pedroia exiting Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees in the second inning due to soreness in his left knee, what is undeniable is this should be of some concern for the Boston Red Sox second baseman.

For the first time since kicking off this latest comeback -- which really took root in January when he started his running program -- a curveball has come his way. When you're dealing with something along the lines of this injury, after already going through a year of inadequate medical solutions, you can't have a whole lot of these sort of surprises.

The next step is for Pedroia to have a doctor in New York examine his knee Thursday, although the physician who performed the surgery, Dr. Riley Williams, doesn't appear to be in the picture anymore.

After the Red Sox's 5-3 loss to the Yankees, Pedroia was unavailable for comment due to an illness, but the tone struck by Red Sox manager Alex Cora seemed somewhat ominous.

"We'll see," Cora said. "For him to come up to me and tell me how he felt, obviously I know a lot of people think he's going to push and push and push and not be smart about it, but he understands where he's at and how he felt. I've got to do what I've got to do to take care of the player. I was surprised that he came up to me and told me that, but at least he was honest.

"We'll see. We'll see what happens. I really don't know. He was a little bit down. He was down. I haven't seen him like that. So, hopefully, it's nothing serious, it's something that he just got scared, but we'll know more tomorrow."

There has been some obvious uncertainty when it comes to Pedroia's knee, most notably the twists and turns that took place last season

Pedroia's spring training did progress as well as could be expected, and by the time he began his minor-league rehab assignment in Greenville, there was some optimism. After four games in Single-A, the second baseman rejoined the Red Sox for the home opener, ultimately starting in six games, two of which were as a designated hitter.

Then came Wednesday, when he felt something in the knee during a swing during his first at-bat, ultimately flying out to right field. That's when he approached Cora.

Taking Pedroia's place at second base was Eduardo Nunez, who was supposed to be getting the day off due to an ailing back. Brock Holt continues his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he experienced a setback in his recovery from a scratched eye, delaying his return to the big league club.

The combination of players to man second base for the Red Sox have totaled a major league-worst .136 batting average and .152 OPS.

The likely short-term solution is Tzu-Wei Lin, who impressed in spring training and has gotten off to a solid start with Triple-A Pawtucket, going 5-for-9 in his last two games. Top prospect Michael Chavis has shown good power (four homers .250 batting average, .954 OPS), but is still acclimating himself to playing the second base position.

By Rob Bradford