We are in Day 2 of the Dustin Pedroia crisis, and if Bobby Valentine is to be believed, there might not be all that many more to come.
Speaking earlier today on WEEI, Valentine had this to say about Pedroia's situation:
"We just had a meeting before I came here, [GM Ben Cherington] and I and Dustin. He's on the mend. He heals pretty quickly. He's a determined guy," said Valentine. "I don't think he's going to have to swing for a day or two, but I think he'll be back a lot sooner than projected."
(Via Alex Speier)
It would be nice if that were the case, but I'm not sure how much weight I put into this. Valentine, after all, is no doctor. Those who are cited a period of nearly a month of recovery, and using "a day or two" like that suggests he's going to cut that down to at most a week--especially when combined with the fact that he's not on the disabled list.
For what it's worth, old friend Lou Merloni has been there and done that, and says he always received at least a couple weeks off to rest the injured thumb before grabbing a bat again, even when he was considered to be playing through the injury.
The Sox might feel the need to rush Pedroia back before he's ready because of the present situation with the team, but that seems like the worst possible idea to me. A tight AL East race combined with the second wild card has kept the Sox in the race thus far despite their mediocre results, and as has been pointed out so often over the last 24 hours, Pedroia wasn't exactly killing it of late. Sacrificing future health and production for a quick half-fix just doesn't make sense.
For once, I'm actually kind of hoping for a disabled list trip.
To stick with Bobby Valentine and WEEI, Larry Lucchino was also on the air today, singing the Boston manager's praises.
To be fair to Bobby, it hasn't been quite such a three-ring circus of late. We don't have Nick Punto leading off, or starters being left in to completely ruin games while the bullpen just starts to get warmed up when the bases are loaded and three runs are in. He's been better.
"But I think he's done an exceptional job, with the series of injuries he's had to deal with, the restructuring of the bullpen he's had to do. And a number of the calls he's made have proven to be really insightful and very helpful to the club sustaining itself around a .500 record so far."
-Via Jashvina Shah
That seems like a bit much to me.
We know that Bobby is Lucchino's guy--which is to say we likely have Lucchino to blame for him--but come on. Yes, Bobby has had to deal with a ton of injuries, but what are those calls Lucchino is talking about? Batting Daniel Nava when he's getting on base 43% of the time? Not playing Punto unless he has to anymore?
Maybe I'm being to hard on that particular quote, but that's just because I've read the rest of Lucchino's comments, which include this:
"I thought he was a convenient symbol for people," Lucchino said of criticism of the new manager. "I didn't think it was certainly fair to focus on him. I thought that people who were upset had legitimate grievances with the performance of the club and the finish last year, and the manager was kind of a figurehead person or symbol that people could focus on."
And that's just trying to rewrite history, pretending that Bobby Valentine wasn't an absolute joke at the beginning of the year, making as many bad decisions as good ones. To ignore the legitimacy of those arguments and say something like this is patronizing and, frankly, offensive. And it's certainly not the sort of thing you say when you're celebrating breaking .500 for the first time this season.
Finally, to cool the temper a bit, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal mentions that Darnell McDonald is in Boston today, and "said he feels ready to return."
Color me a little bit concerned.
I'm fine with having Darnell McDonald come back to the team under certain conditions, specifically that he does not replace anyone useful on the roster. To me, at least, the obvious choice to be sent down, shipped out, etc. would be Marlon Byrd, who after a decent start with the team has fallen back down to a .600 OPS in his time in Boston with some seriously messy looking defense in center.
And, given the performances of Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik so far, that should be an easy choice for the Red Sox to make, too. Unfortunately, it's not a sure thing, because the Sox have, in the past, shown a bizarre obsession with protecting mediocre talent even at the cost of losing a contributing member of the 25-man roster to the minor leagues.
I'm not talking about any Youkilis - Middlebrooks situation here. The best example may actually come from a few years back, and just happens to involve Daniel Nava as well. Nava, as you may remember, started his major career with more than a month of impressive performance. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hermida was waiting out a lengthy disabled list stint, while Eric Patterson was doing nothing but hurting the Red Sox every time he took the field. It was obvious what needed to be done: dump Patterson, bring Hermida back up.
Instead, because he had an option, Nava was gone to Triple-A.
Now we're in a similar situation. Byrd isn't performing, Nava is, but Nava has an option. Can the Sox learn from their mistakes? Or are they doomed to repeat them?