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Dustin Pedroia won’t return before September

MRI shows need for more rehab

An MRI on injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia shows he needs to strengthen the back of the knee to heal his hamstring. He has missed 25 games this season.File/ Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia isn’t expected to return until Sept. 10 at the earliest after an MRI revealed that he needs to continue strengthening the strained right hamstring that’s kept him on the disabled list since July 25.

Pedroia has missed the last 25 games, including the Sox’ 4-1 series-opening win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

He initially injured the hamstring June 25, sat out 16 games, returned July 17, and played six games before aggravating the injury.

The plan is to have Pedroia spend the rest of the month building up to baseball activity.

“The imaging is saying that he needs to continue strengthening for another 10 days, which will get him right around the end of the month,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo.


That process, Lovullo said, will involve some hitting and light ground balls.

“Nothing too strenuous,” Lovullo said. “All along the lines of continuing to strengthen that area behind his knee and get it ready for some running activity to ramp him up for that day in September.”

Pedroia is on pace to finish with his fewest games played since a broken foot limited him to 75 in 2010.

“It’s one of those things where we are a little disappointed, but we understand when you’re an injured player like that it takes time to recuperate and you can’t force a player to get in there too quickly,” Lovullo said.

“We don’t want to put any of our guys in harm’s way. Here’s one of our best players, our leaders, we’ll be missing him for a while, but it’s giving other guys a chance to play and perform. We need Dustin, we want Dustin, and we know he’s going to be back as soon as possible.”

Castillo takes a seat

A day after losing track of the amount of outs and tossing the ball into the stands after a catch, leading to a two-base error, Rusney Castillo was out of the lineup.


Lovullo said the team wasn’t pleased with Castillo’s mental lapse, but the benching was unrelated to the incident.

Mookie Betts was back in center after getting Wednesday off; Jackie Bradley Jr. slid to right.

Keeping track of outs has been a recurring issue for the Sox this season. In June, Hanley Ramirez took a long lead off second with the bases loaded, broke for third on a line drive thinking there were two outs when there was actually just one, and got doubled off at second. Later that month, Betts caught a fly ball and fired home not realizing there were already three outs. In July, Bradley did the same thing.

“It is unfortunate that we’ve had a couple hiccups,” Lovullo said. “They’re documented and we know who they are and what’s happened. To answer your question, yes, I wasn’t too thrilled about it. I had a chance to talk to Rusney, we’ve taken care of that.

“We sat down with all our outfielders. That’s a team of three guys out there every night and they’re all held responsible, so we’ve addressed that. Talked to Rusney and hopefully we’re going to move off of that as quickly as possible. It’s not something we’re about here in Boston.”

New closer on roll

Junichi Tazawa earned his second career save Wednesday night. The first came in 2011 when he went the final three innings of a 10-3 win.


Save No. 3 came Thursday with a clean ninth inning.

With Koji Uehara on the disabled list with a nondisplaced distal radius fracture in his right wrist, Tazawa has become the de facto closer.

He acknowledged it was a role he was uncomfortable with while Uehara was healthy.

“I know how Koji feels when he goes out there,” Tazawa said through an interpreter. “I was enjoying that. I don’t feel like I’m a closer. I was just warming the seat. Just trying to throw strikes.

“I know that if he’s healthy he’s the absolute closer of this team. His being injured, absolutely, it’s easier for me to fill in.”

Lovullo said before the game he trusts Tazawa in the new role.

“Taz is the type of guy that has the stuff, and we know it,” Lovullo said. “He is now just going to bump up into a role and it’s something he’s going to have to make some adjustments to. But the bottom line is he has terrific stuff. We’re not going to overshoot this and say this is going to add pressure to him. He just has to go out there and function as Taz has over the last couple years I’ve been here, and he’s going to be just fine in that role.”

A check on Wright

Steven Wright, who’s been on the concussion disabled list since Aug. 14, will be evaluated Friday. “We’ll find out a little more information on where he’s at and start to hopefully move in a direction where he gets some baseball activity,” Lovullo said . . . With the trade of Chase Utley to the Dodgers, David Ortiz’s 13 years with the Red Sox make him baseball’s longest continuously tenured player . . . The PawSox had the day off and Deven Marrero used it to make the trip to Fenway to catch up with Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. The two were teammates at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.


Julian Benbow can be reached at