Dustin Pedroia kicked off his spring with a perfect night at the plate in Thursday's Grapefruit League opener against the Twins--an encouraging sign after a 2014 season that was easily the worst of his career.
Pedroia got the Red Sox started on a warm Fort Meyers night with a one-out single in the first, and while the Sox would fail to capitalize, his double into left was part of a three-run rally in the fourth that pulled Boston even with the Twins at four runs a piece. Finally, in the fourth, with Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez, and Xander Bogaerts loading the bases ahead of him, Pedroia faced a fresh Ryan O' Rourke and got the ol' high inside fastball. Here's where it ended up:
Let's get the necessary caveats out of the way: Ryan O' Rourke is a 26-year-old reliever who has thrown all of one inning at Triple-A. He's also a local boy, so clearly those loyalties are divided! Oh, and it's spring, where the results are only that much more important than those from any given batting practice session.
But...well, if there's one thing we haven't seen out of Pedroia at all these last couple years, it's power. Playing on that torn UCL in 2013 seems to have taken its toll on the second baseman, who has managed just 16 total homers over the last couple seasons. This may be just one game, and spring may not mean that much more than batting practice, but hell, Dustin Pedroia putting on a show in batting practice might just be worth attention in its own right these days.
Pedroia wasn't alone in having a big night, either. While the Red Sox ultimately fell 8-9 thanks to some unfortunate pitching performances from Joe Kelly and Alexi Ogando (though the latter's velocity was arguably more encouraging than his results were concerning), Xander Bogaerts also rekindled the old hype by making this bomb to the deepest part of the park look easy:
The Red Sox added plenty of big-name talent to the roster this past offseason, but in the end, the resurgence of players like Pedroia and Bogaerts would be just as important. They've both got a long way to go, but at least they're off to a good start.