NEW YORK — Dustin Pedroia was back at his locker on Thursday, carefully taping the handle of a bat and cracking jokes with teammate Mike Napoli before the Red Sox played the Yankees.
Pedroia missed his fifth consecutive game but looked and sounded more like his usual self for the first time in several days after suffering a concussion during Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I never had one before and I hope I don’t have one again,” said Pedroia, who was accidentally elbowed in the side of the head during a tag play at second base. “I was really dizzy when it happened and then for a little while afterward.”
Pedroia is set to return to the lineup on Friday night against Toronto at Fenway Park. He passed an online assessment required by Major League Baseball and went through a second day of workouts without any problems. That included taking batting practice on the field.
The final step will be for Pedroia to be cleared by a doctor on Friday morning.
“At this point, things are looking like he’ll be in the lineup,” manager John Farrell said.
Pedroia said his symptoms also included headaches and some problems sleeping. But he never experienced the nausea that sometimes accompanies more serious concussions.
“I wasn’t really normal for a few days but I was able to get over it pretty quickly,” Pedroia said. “Everybody told me to take it easy and I tried to do that. It was tough just watching games because I wasn’t supposed to be doing anything physical. I just sat there.”
Rusney Castillo did not play for Double A Portland in its Eastern League playoff game. The outfielder from Cuba was given a day to rest after playing five innings on Wednesday.
Castillo is 2 for 8 in three minor league games since signing a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Sox.
Castillo is expected to play for Portland in Game 3 of the series on Friday at 6 p.m. at Hadlock Field.
The Red Sox have received almost daily production from Yoenis Cespedes. But the other big bat they picked up at the trade deadline, Allen Craig, has struggled.
Craig was 0 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees. He is 4 for 38 in his first 11 games with the Sox, with 16 strikeouts. It’s part of a season in which he’s hit .225 with a .623 OPS.
The 30-year-old outfielder and first baseman was a career .306 hitter with an .850 OPS before this season and had 247 RBIs over 372 games.
Craig ended last season with a torn ligament in his left foot that was allowed to heal without surgery. Farrell suggested last month that surgery was a possibility if Craig felt discomfort. But that hasn’t been the case.
“This isn’t a matter of us focusing on something physical where it’s going to need a repair,” Farrell said.
The belief is Craig needs surgery on his swing.
“Right now, with his setup, he’s getting pitched in quite a bit, and it’s caused him to commit to some pitches early,” Farrell said. “When some breaking balls have shown up, that’s where some of that early commitment has resulted in a check swing or expanding the plate away and down of the plate. We’re just trying to get him back to some consistent at-bats and timing.”
The Cardinals wondered if the injury led to Craig developing a different swing or bad habits.
“Not that we’re aware of,” Farrell said. “He does not use that injury as an excuse with what he’s dealing with right now.”
The Red Sox sent righthander John Lackey to the Cardinals for Craig and righthander Joe Kelly.
Work for Tanaka
The Yankees remain at least somewhat hopeful that Masahiro Tanaka will pitch again for them this season.
The righthander, out since July 9 with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, will throw in the bullpen on Saturday and then perhaps in a scrimmage at the team complex in Florida.
“He will pitch somewhere. He has to throw,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “You can’t wait until next spring.”
Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 earned run average before his injury. The Yankees are hoping to determine whether he will need Tommy John surgery before the offseason.
One more series
The teams meet again at Fenway Park Sept. 26-28 for what could be Derek Jeter’s career sendoff. Jeter has 12 of his 39 RBIs this season against the Sox . . . The Sox went 5-5 on the road trip but have lost 13 of 18 . . . The Sox are 6-10 against the Yankees . . . Via his uncle, former major leaguer Terry Shumpert, Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts spoke on the telephone to Ken Griffey Jr. on Thursday morning. The two discussed outfield play, along with other topics . . . Former Red Sox and Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon attended the game. Damon, 40, last played in 2012 but has not officially retired . . . The Red Sox are 29-40 at home with 12 games left. The 2012 team was 34-47 at Fenway.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.