PHILADELPHIA — Dustin Pedroia tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on Opening Day when he slid head-first into first base in the ninth inning against the Yankees. But he has started every game since.
Pedroia decided against surgery or a stint on the disabled list and kept on playing. The story broke in the Herald, which quoted owner John Henry about the situation.
On Wednesday, Pedroia seemed annoyed that the news came out, saying he was trying to keep it hidden from the public.
“We want medical stuff to stay private,” he said. “Players are playing. No reason to talk about injuries and stuff like that.”
Pedroia claimed the injury does not bother him.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I told you guys that from the beginning.”
On April 26, Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn told the Globe that Pedroia had been dealing with a thumb injury all season. But the second baseman denied that at the time, as did manager John Farrell.
“I think if you miss time, you should be able to reveal it to everybody,” Pedroia said Wednesday. “But guys who are playing, there’s no point to talk about anything.”
Red Sox pitcher Andrew Bailey had surgery for a torn UCL in his thumb last season. But Farrell made out Pedroia’s torn ligament to be little more than an annoyance.
“I would categorize Pedey’s situation much like other players that are dealing with some physical ailment that they manage through treatment,” he said. “It becomes very cut and dry in his mind. To be honest, there’s never a doubt coming into the ballpark whether he’s going to be available on a given day.”
Pedroia did not give a direct answer when asked whether surgery was an option in April.
“I just talked about some things with our training staff and our team doctor, things like that,” he said. “It wasn’t a very long discussion. Got checked out and made sure everything was fine and went and played.”
Pedroia said he now “feels normal.”
Pedroia went into Wednesday’s game hitting .332 with a .422 on-base percentage. But only in recent weeks has his slugging percentage climbed. Pedroia had eight extra-base hits in the first 37 games of the season, one of them a home run. He had nine in the 17 games after that, two of them homers.
“I know a lot of people have asked, ‘Well, why are his power numbers what they are?’ “ said Farrell. “To me that’s been more circumstance, where pitchers have consistently pitched him.”
Farrell said Pedroia has a high pain threshold.
“He’ll fight you tooth and nail to stay in the lineup even if there’s things he’s dealing with,” Farrell said. “He sets a tone, not only performance but of grit and determination, and other guys feed off of that.”
Farrell was asked whether hiding injuries was now something the team encourages.
“I don’t think we’re looking to hide anything . . . but you have to respect what the player wants,” he said.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.