One of the big stories of the 2019 season is going to be how Dustin Pedroia looks in his return to the majors. Of course, that storyline was delayed a bit as the second baseman wasn’t quite ready for primetime after spring training and was placed on the injured list to start the year. They knew he was going to miss the entire road trip that opened the season, but the hope was that he’d be ready to come back for the home opener. Well, the home opener is now upon us, and Pedroia could be ready to return for that game.
The veteran second baseman has been playing down in Low-A Greenville since their season started this past Thursday. The most important thing has been getting through nine innings, which he’s done twice. He was supposed to do it a third time, but in his second game he left after five innings. However, it was apparently just because he had gotten a lot of action at second base and the team felt he had a full game’s worth of work. There were no health reasons for the early pull. As far as his performance, Pedroia was 3-9 with a double and a pair of walks in those three games.
Now, Pedroia is heading up to meet with some team officials on Monday where they’ll decide if he’s ready to re-join the big-league squad. We all know he’s going to argue hard to come back, but it’s worth mentioning the team has been extra cautious with injuries early in the year. There’s a chance they’ll continue that here, particularly with some rain in the forecast for Tuesday.
Whenever this return does come, it will come at an important time for the Red Sox. Brock Holt was, of course, just placed on the injured list with Tzu-Wei Lin coming up. The latter is still a solid contributor and the team could do worse, but a combination of Lin on the bench and Eduardo Núñez getting most of the starts is not exactly a dynamic combination at the keystone position. Pedroia should bring more consistent defense (though Núñez has been more respectable with the glove in a tiny sample so far this year) and more contact at the plate. Remember, the Red Sox are also playing with a short bench right now as they started the year with 13 pitches for their season-opening road trip. Thus, if Pedroia is activated ahead of Tuesday’s game don’t be surprised if Marcus Walden is the one heading down to Pawtucket.
Whatever happens, we’ll keep you updated. There’s a chance we’ll know later in the day on Monday, if not the news should come down at some point Tuesday morning.