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Dustin Pedroia goes back on injured list, but it appears he dodged a bullet

Dustin Pedroia was placed on the injured list Thursday with what the team termed as “irritation” in his knee.
Dustin Pedroia was placed on the injured list Thursday with what the team termed as “irritation” in his knee. (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)

TAMPA — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia did not sustain a serious injury to his left knee on Wednesday night, a major league source told the Globe.

Pedroia, who was examined in New York on Thursday, was placed on the injured list with what the team termed as “irritation” in his knee. The belief is he will be able to return sometime next month.

Righthanded reliever Marcus Walden will be recalled from Triple A Pawtucket before Friday night’s game against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox said. That would give the Sox 14 pitchers. Another move could be made before the game to add an infielder to the bench with Tzu-Wei Lin a candidate to return.

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Pedroia, 35, left Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees in the second inning after feeling pain in his surgically repaired knee. The Sox feared a serious injury at the time but now believe Pedroia will be able to continue playing.

Pedroia has played six games since coming off the injured list on April 9 but has yet to play two days in a row in the field.

That the Red Sox were too hasty bringing Pedroia back has become obvious. He played only seven games in spring training before opening the season on the injured list. Pedroia then appeared in three games for Single A Greenville before being activated in time for the home opener.

Pedroia is 2 for 20 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored. He does not have an extra-base hit.

Why the Sox did not have Pedroia spend a longer period in the minor leagues to regain his timing and further test the stability of his knee isn’t clear. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager Alex Cora said a short minor league stint was the team’s plan all along.

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With Pedroia hampered and Brock Holt on the injured list with a scratched right cornea, the Sox are relying on Eduardo Nunez at second base. He is hitting .159 and has made a series of defensive mistakes, including an error on Wednesday that led to an unearned run.

Through Wednesday, Red Sox second basemen had a .337 OPS, by far the worst in the majors. The average at the position is .684.

Pearce’s slow start

Steve Pearce had only 17 at-bats in seven spring training games before straining his left calf on March 17. He started the season on the injured list and was activated on April 4 without first playing in a few minor league games.

From March 18 to April 3, Pearce’s only at-bats came in minor league games in Fort Myers.

The results show how unprepared Pearce was. He is 3 of 24 (.125) in seven games with no extra-base hits and 11 strikeouts. It’s a calamitous drop for a player who was Most Valuable Player of the World Series.

“I’m still catching up on at-bats,” Pearce said. “That’s really it. I’m trying to get my timing. I think once I get a few more I should be OK. But it’s frustrating now.”

Pearce said his leg feels fine.

Matchups set

The Red Sox will pitch Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, and David Price against the Rays. Tampa Bay will have an opener on Friday night then two conventional starters, righthanders Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow.

Rodriguez pitched poorly in his first two games then allowed two runs over 6⅔ innings against Baltimore last Friday. Rodriguez has a 7.90 ERA in three career starts at Tropicana Field.

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The Sox were 11-8 against the Rays last season but lost the last four games of the season series.

Betts slumps

Mookie Betts is 2 of 23 in the last seven games and hitless in his last 10 at-bats. His last extra-base hit was on April 9, a home run. His only stolen base was on April 12 . . . The Sox have scored four runs in their last three games and hit .161 with 23 strikeouts. They are 1 for 18 with runners in scoring position . . . Friday starts a stretch of 20 games in as many days for the Sox . . . J.D. Martinez is hitting .352 with a 1.017 OPS. He has hit safely in 18 of the 19 games. Martinez, Betts, and Rafael Devers are the only Sox to appear in every game.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.