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Red Sox vs. Angels lineups: Dustin Pedroia returns

Good news: Dustin Pedroia is back! Bad news: Brock Holt isn't playing, but Mike Napoli is

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Pedroia is making his return from the disabled list Friday night, three weeks removed from the hamstring strain that sidelined him in the first place.

Mookie Betts - CF Johnny Giavotella - 2B
Dustin Pedroia - 2B Kole Calhoun - RF
Xander Bogaerts - SS Mike Trout - CF
David Ortiz - DH Albert Pujols - 1B
Hanley Ramirez - LF Erick Aybar - SS
Pablo Sandoval - 3B David Freese - 3B
Mike Napoli - 1B C.J. Cron - DH
Shane Victorino - RF Chris Iannetta - C
Ryan Hanigan - C Dan Robertson - LF
Wade Miley - LHP C.J. Wilson - LHP

It was an unusually abrupt trip to the disabled list for Pedroia, whose past injuries have tended to either lead to long periods of ineffectiveness as the second baseman does his best to battle through, or be severe enough to more-or-less end his season as in 2010. This is one of the first--at least that I can remember--that has immediately taken him out of action only to return him in a reasonable time frame.

Still, Pedroia is showing his usual reluctance to miss any more time than is absolutely necessary. Despite the reasonably long layoff, he's set to return to action without having so much as seen a rehab at-bat. The All-Star break would have seemed a good time to get him a few games, but with the Red Sox not even entirely sure they wanted to activate Pedroia until today, they've prioritized rest and recuperation over rehab.

For tonight, Pedroia's return comes at the expense of Brock Holt, Boston's lone All-Star. Presumably this is not something that will last. Presumably Mike Napoli is getting the start because...I don't know, because he hits against the Angels. Which is not something real unless you're willing to make the argument that Mike Napoli is simply not trying hard enough against other teams. But such is the old "clutch" double standard. But that's also what we said about his last start. And the start before that one. And somehow he remains. It's not his fault that the organization is painfully slow to cut its losses but it's hard not to get frustrated.

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