Is this the end for Dustin Pedroia?
NEW YORK — Are we nearing the end for Dustin Pedroia?
No one takes any pleasure in this prospect. But there was a sense of doom and gloom when Pedroia was taken out of the lineup after flying to right field in the top of the second inning Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
This was the first game Pedroia started in the field since Friday at Fenway against the Orioles. His left knee has not come around the way the Sox hoped.
Perhaps even more telling, Pedroia had left the building when the Sox clubhouse opened after a 5-3 loss.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “He was down. I haven’t seen him like that.’’
It was highly unusual for Pedroia to leave the ballpark early.
‘’He left, not because of what happened, but also because he was sick,’’ said Cora. “He took off. He felt something weird in his knee. He didn’t feel right there so we decided to take him out. He’s going to see a doctor and we’ll see where we are at. We’ll know more tomorrow.
“For him to come up to me and tell me how he felt . . . he understands where he’s at. I got to do what I have to do to take care of the player. I was surprised that he came up to me and told me that, but at least he was honest. We’ll see. I really don’t know.’’
Boston baseball boss Dave Dombrowski, said, “I have nothing on Pedroia.’’
Pedroia had experimental cartilage restoration surgery on his knee (he got cartilage from a cadaver) in October of 2017 and hasn’t been the same player since. He played only three games in the championship season of 2018. He played second base in only three of the Sox first 18 games this spring. Last night was his fourth start at second and he lasted only one inning in the field. He still has three years remaining (counting this year) on his eight-year, $110 million contract.
The Sox second base position at this hour is a disaster. Pedroia has started four games at the position, is batting .100 and looks like a candidate for the injured list again. Eduardo Nunez made another error Wednesday and on Tuesday night pulled his glove away, creating a needless error on Sandy Leon’s throw to second. Brock Holt (scratched cornea) did not play Wednesday night for Pawtucket.
Where is Chuck Schilling when you need him?
Jerry Remy knows a thing or two about career-ending knee injuries. Remy endured 11 knee surgeries during his 10-year career and had to hang it up when he could take no more in the spring of 1986. Remy shared some thoughts on Pedroia during Wednesday’s series finale against the Yankees:
“I’m concerned,’’ Remy said between innings. “Any time you have to take a step off the field you’ve got to be concerned about it. This is something that nobody’s ever been through before. It’s trial and error and when you see a guy play for a few days, and then cut back for days, and then see this, I’m concerned.’’
Remy relayed a conversation he had with Pedroia when they were walking into Yankee Stadium.
He asked me, ‘Are there certain surfaces you have problems walking on?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, some hard surfaces.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a floor in my house that I have to have changed because it bothers me.’ ”
Remy added, “At the end of my career, I couldn’t move any more. I knew going to spring training I was done.
“I haven’t seen that much of Pedroia in the field this year. I saw him dive for a ball the other day and he wasn’t even close to it. But he turned some double plays. So you can’t make that judgement yet.
“But this is discouraging. Mentally, it’s very difficult to go through. It’s all you think about.’’
Dombrowski on Tuesday defended the Sox curious decision to have Pedroia play only three games of minor league ball before starting the home opener at Fenway.
“He felt he was ready to go,’’ Dombrowski said. “To stretch this out over a lengthy period, it would take a long time period to get through the whole time. He’s not going to be ready to play — which we’ve said all along — every day, for a lengthy period. So we’re willing to deal with the situation.’’
It is doubtful the Sox will continue to deal with the situation in the same fashion. They need to do something before the three-game series in Tampa, which begins Friday.
Pedroia will see a doctor in New York Thursday while his teammates are in Florida for an off day.
Pedroia was American League Rookie of the Year in 2007 when the Red Sox won the World Series. He was AL MVP a year later when the Sox made it to the seventh game of the American League Championship Series. He is a four-time All-Star and has more continuous service with Boston than any player on the Sox roster. He is the last of the Red Sox who played for Terry Francona.
He is only 35 years old and will probably put on a good front and tell us that he will be OK. But it doesn’t feel that way anymore.