BOSTON, MA: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox reacts when he disagreed with an call by umpire Mark Carlson on a play at second base against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
What was rumored has turned out to be true, in that Dustin Pedroia has a torn abductor muscle in his thumb that could cause him to miss three weeks to a month of the season. "Could" is the operative word there, as Pedroia and the Red Sox are in the midst of figuring out if the tear is minor enough that it could be played through.
"There's some risk just like with any injury, that it could worsen. That's our job and Dustin's job to make sure that we're minimizing that risk as much as possible before gets back out there . . . so we're just trying to manage that and do the right thing for him and do the right thing for the team.''
That's general manager Ben Cherington on Pedroia, with his usual thorough demeanor. As much as everyone involved hopes that Pedroia is healthy enough to play, the best thing to do for all involved might be to sit him, even if it's just for two weeks on the 15-day disabled list. Of course, if the swelling continues to lessen and it's something he can play well with as long as it's managed, then that's tempting, too.
Pedroia hurt his thumb three weeks ago, and has scuffled somewhat during that vague time frame. In the last two weeks, he's hit all of .244/.271/.267, and doesn't have an extra-base hit in his last four games played. Of course, this could be mere coincidence, but given the debate at hand, probably not.
The Red Sox have options who could hit more than that (and still field well) in Pedroia's absence, should it come to that for a couple of weeks. Pedro Ciriaco would need to be added to the 40-man roster, but he showed off his impressive glove in the spring, and is in the midst of his most productive season in the high minors. Granted, he's 26 years old, so he should be doing just that, but for a two-week band-aid, there are worse options. Already on the roster is Nick Punto, who, for all the offensive ineptitude he's shown in limited playing time this year, is a quality defender who can draw a walk. Injured Pedroia might be able to match these guys offensively, but playing also has the potential to keep him from healing, and that's the key to the whole situation.
We'll know sooner than later what the Pedroia decision is, as the Red Sox won't want to play a man down on their roster for very long.