Pe­droia is talkin’ base­ball

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE - By BREN­DAN McGAIR bm­c­gair@paw­tuck­et­times.com

Red Sox se­cond base­man glad to BACK ON fiELD

PAW­TUCKET – From foot­ing the bill for lav­ish postgame spreads from swanky steak­houses to play­ing the game with­out the aid of chem­i­cal en­hance­ments, Dustin Pe­droia cov­ered plenty of ground be­fore his se­cond re­hab game with the Paw­tucket Red Sox was washed out.

Tues­day’s post­pone­ment against Buf­falo means that Pe­droia and his sur­gi­cally re­paired knee will be down for a few days be­fore re­sum­ing his re­hab as­sign­ment.

The PawSox will play an 11 a.m. game on to­day and will have an off day on Thurs­day. Pe­droia’s next game will come Fri­day when the lo­cal Triple-A squad plays at Rochester.

Noth­ing is etched in stone, but Pe­droia fig­ures to see ac­tion in at least two of the three games the PawSox play over the week­end against the Red Wings. The odds are pretty good that the all-star se­cond base­man will be back at McCoy Sta­dium next week when Paw­tucket kicks off an eight-game home­s­tand on Mon­day.

“I’m at the point where I’m fully con­fi­dent,” said Pe­droia as he fielded ques­tions while sit­ting in the PawSox dugout on Tues­day af­ter­noon. “I’ve been do­ing what I’m told through­out this whole thing. The doc­tors have given me time­frames as far as phys­i­cal steps I would be at. I tried to beat all of those and I have. I haven’t once thought, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’”

It hasn’t been all one-sided as far as Pe­droia fol­low­ing the doc­tor’s ad­vice and that’s that. As some­one who’s been the big leagues for 12 years, the 34-yearold rep­re­sents the best source when it comes to self-eval­u­a­tion.

“I don’t buy into the whole tim­ing thing. When you’re in a game, you’re just com­pet­ing. Tim­ing is your body’s re­ac­tion to the pitches and things like that,” Pe­droia said. “The more reps you get, your com­fort level goes up. I hit the ball on the bar­rel three times (on Mon­day night) but I was out in front. The body gets used to the (pitcher’s) ve­loc­ity, but it’s about tak­ing a deep breath and re­lax­ing.

“I can do it now. I think (the Red Sox) know I can do it know, but it’s prob­a­bly not re­spon­si­ble com­ing back from this surgery, go­ing straight to the big leagues and play­ing,” Pe­droia added. “Could I do it? Yeah. Ab­so­lutely, but I don’t think they’d be com­fort­able with that.”

When you’ve been idle from ma­jor-league game com­pe­ti­tion as long as Pe­droia has, wait­ing an ex­tra week or per­haps two be­fore re­turn­ing to Fen­way Park doesn’t seem like a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience.

“They’ve told me many times that what I’ve been through, it’s not worth risk­ing for a short amount of time,” said Pe­droia, who’s un­der con­tract through the 2021 sea­son.

For many years, Pe­droia has been linked to Robinson Cano as two of the premier se­cond base­man in the Amer­i­can League, if not the en­tire ma­jors. Cano re­ceived an 80-game sus­pen­sion for PED use on Tues­day based on a sub­stance that he tested pos­i­tive for dur­ing the off­sea­son.

In light of the pun­ish­ment that was handed down to Cano, Pe­droia was asked about how much pride he takes in play­ing clean.

“I try and set an ex­am­ple for our or­ga­ni­za­tion and my fam­ily. It’s pretty im­por­tant that you do things the right way and play the game hard,” Pe­droia said. “When you look back, you want to be proud of that.”

When Pe­droia was with the PawSox in 2005, he re­mem­bers David Wells pur­chas­ing a postgame spread fol­low­ing a re­hab start. Thir­teen years later, Pe­droia finds him­self in the po­si­tion of treat­ing the Paw­tucket play­ers and coaches to a lav­ish feast. On Mon­day, Pe­droia sprang for steaks, pota­toes, Cae­sar salad, and lob­ster mac­a­roni & cheese from the Cap­i­tal Grille.

Pe­droia was ready to pro­vide for an­other postgame feast on Tues­day, but PawSox ex­ec­u­tive chef Rob Gemma said that he was work­ing on prime rib.

“(Gemma) told me that I can’t get a spread. I said, ‘Dude, it’s on you if you mess this up. Don’t let me down,’” Pe­droia said with a smile.

PawSox man­ager Kevin Boles hav­ing some fun with his Tues­day’s lineup card af­ter the spe­cial food de­liv­ery that Pe­droia or­ches­trated af­ter Mon­day’s game. Bat­ting third and play­ing se­cond base for Paw­tucket was “Cap­i­tal Grille.”

“Now I can say that I’ve man­aged him, which is an honor,” Boles said. “Great spread … he can stay as long as he wants.”

Photo by Louri­ann Mardo-Zayat

Red Sox se­cond base­man Dustin Pe­droia is con­fi­dent he will be back with the team soon as he con­tin­ues to re­hab in Paw­tucket.

Photo by Louri­ann Mardo-Zayat / lmzart­works.com

PawSox fans will likely see Dustin Pe­droia (pic­tured) dur­ing the team’s next home stand that starts Mon­day against Scran­ton.

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