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‘He played with a little chip on his shoulder’: Dustin Pedroia’s former teammates, managers react to his retirement

David Ortiz (right) said Dustin Pedroia's "commitment was extraordinary."Jim Davis/Globe Staff/file

Dustin Pedroia’s former Red Sox teammates and managers, as well as club ownership, are lining up to congratulate him following his retirement announcement on Monday.

Here’s what they had to say:

David Ortiz

“I can say so much about Dustin,” Ortiz said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “It got to the point while I played that I asked myself one day, who would be a player that you would buy a ticket to see, because it was worth it to watch him play for nine innings. And my answer was Dustin Pedroia. He played with a little chip on his shoulder. He basically had the F-U type of mentality whenever he took the field.


“I got to the point where I worried so much about him, the way he hustled, the way he played hard, his discipline. He was committed to do well for his team and his teammates. His commitment was extraordinary. I used to watch the little guy and ask that question to myself because he was that type of guy.

“I really appreciate the fact that I was able to play and have a teammate like Dustin because I learned so much from him. The one thing I learned for sure was that this was not about size. This was about heart. He was the whole package. I’m happy, thankful, grateful and proud that I was able to have a teammate like him because he was a guy who motivated me to do well. Happy retirement buddy. Love you man.”

Jason Varitek

“Dustin is a great teammate that brings it every day, day in and day out. Not only great talent and an MVP-type player, he brought heart, soul, and hustle to all the teams that he played on,” Varitek said in the Red Sox’ statement. “As a competitor, no one stands quite as tall as Pedroia. He may be short in stature, but tall in presence. He not only worked his way to the player that he is, but had a heart of a lion to get it done. Dustin Pedroia truly exemplifies what it means to wear the uniform of the Boston Red Sox. He is a true Red Sox and always will be.”


Xander Bogaerts

“His mental toughness, his work ethic, and his energy were what I enjoyed seeing every day while playing next to him. He never took one play off. Definitely one of the best to ever wear a Red Sox uniform. He taught me a lot.”

Alex Cora

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was not only Pedroia’s manager for a couple of seasons, but he also played with him for three seasons. Cora wrote a heartfelt Instagram post with a picture of Pedroia with one of Cora’s daughters attached.

“From the first day we shared the field until today, the love, passion and enthusiasm for the game has not changed and I know that will continue,” Cora wrote. “It has been a pleasure to watch you grow as a player, teammate, husband and father. My friend, you have impacted my life, my family, our organization, a ‘nation’ like few others and I live proud of you.”

Terry Francona

Pedroia’s first manager, Terry Francona, also weighed in. Francona, who was Pedroia’s manager for his first six seasons in the league, called Pedroia “the ultimate team player.”


“He was the ultimate team player. He always seemed to save his very best plays for the most important time of the game,” Francona said via the Red Sox statement. “He seemed to will himself at times to lead us to victory. It is impossible to spend any amount of time with him and not become close to him. He just has that type of personality. I wish PeeWee success in his next endeavor, and will laugh as Kelli kicks his ass!”

Red Sox owner John Henry

“Dustin is so much more than his American League Most Valuable Player award, his All-Star Game selections, and the Gold Gloves he amassed throughout his impressive 17-year career in our organization.

“Dustin came to represent the kind of grit, passion, and competitive drive that resonates with baseball fans everywhere and especially with Red Sox fans. He played the game he loves in service to our club, its principles and in pursuit of championships. Most of all we are forever grateful to him for what he brought to our club and to our region as an important role model showing all of us how much one can accomplish with determination and hard work.”

Red Sox CEO Tom Werner

“Dustin has been an integral part of our club from draft day through retirement. During his time with the Red Sox, we have had the opportunity to see Dustin evolve into one of the best second basemen in the game as a player and watch him grow as a husband to Kelli and father to his three incredible children. The full impact of the Pedroia family extends well beyond the walls of Fenway Park and into the Boston community through their work with military families and the Jimmy Fund. We congratulate Dustin on a tremendous career, and thank him and Kelli for their contributions to our club and our community.”


John Farrell

“Arguably the best second baseman to wear a Sox uniform,” Farrell said in the Red Sox’ statement. “From the first day of spring training to the final out of each season his competitiveness and determination were an example to all. Any conversation about the greatest players in Red Sox history has to include Dustin Pedroia.”

Jonathan Papelbon

“He’s the most inspiring person and player I’ve ever been around! He makes everyone around him a better player and person,” Papelbon said in the Red Sox’ statement. “He is a first ballot Hall of Famer! I am lucky to call him a friend, and to have played with him and win a world championship with him. He is an amazing husband, father, son, friend, and athlete. Diamonds are forever and so is Dustin Pedroia.”

Jon Lester

“Best teammate, person, competitor and friend I ever had the privilege to see and play with!!”

Mike Lowell

“From the first day I met Pedey, I was impressed with the love he had for the game of baseball, the competitive fire to always go out and give 100%, and the relentless pursuit of excellence,” Lowell said in the Red Sox’ statement. “The Red Sox found a gem at second base and he proved his worth year after year. I enjoyed most our card games on team flights and just talking baseball. Congrats on a standout career and all the best in this next chapter of your life.”


Will Middlebrooks

“Dustin Pedroia played with more heart and grit than most of the league combined,” Middlebrooks wrote on Twitter. “He led by example every single day… A true grinder. I consider myself lucky to have played alongside him. Here’s to the next chapter, buddy. You did it the right way.”

Mookie Betts

“Salute to my former teammate and friend Dustin Pedroia, on your retirement. Thank you for the countless times you poured into me about the game of baseball. I appreciate you! Congratulations! Now enjoy life after baseball.”

Jonny Gomes

“In Dustin Pedroia I will always trust. Can’t wait to watch you get inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Brock Holt

“The best. Hands down. Not even close. It was the honor of my career to watch you play baseball. You made me better. You made us all better. Thank you!”

Shane Victorino

“It was an honor to share the field with you, bud, and call you a teammate. Such an amazing career! Welcome to retirement.”

Mitch Moreland

“Congrats on a great career. Hell of a ballplayer and teammate. You made everybody on the field better!”

Andrew Benintendi

“Congratulations, Pedey! Hell of a career. Thank you for everything you have done. It was a privilege to lace them up with you!”

David Ross

“This man showed me so much about how winners go about their business, on and off the field. He made everyone around him better! Congrats on a great career Petey, it was an honor to be your teammate.”

New England Patriots

“One of Boston’s best. Congrats to Dustin Pedroia on a great career!”

Boston Bruins

“What a career! All the best to Red Sox great Dustin Pedroia in his retirement.”

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