Now at shortstop: Dustin Pedroia?
|03.21.10 at 1:06 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A couple weeks ago, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia — whose name was floated as a potential answer for the team as a shortstop in 2010, before the club signed free agent Marco Scutaro — said that he had not taken any grounders at shortstop this spring. That is no longer the case.
Pedroia stood next to Scutaro and took about 10 groundballs at shortstop on Sunday morning. Pedroia showed a strong arm, zipping the ball from the left side of the infield to first. True to the assessment of former Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod this offseason, Pedroia — who was a college Defensive Player of the Year as a shortstop at Arizona State University — moved well at the position.
“He has a great arm, good hands, good feet,” said Scutaro. “Without a doubt, he could play short.”
So, what gives? Could the Sox be exploring Pedroia as a shortstop on days when Scutaro is unavailable? Was it a sign that the Sox would like to explore someone other than Bill Hall as a backup shortstop, perhaps with an idea of having Pedroia at that position and Hall at second on days when Scutaro is out?
As it turns out. . . no.
The exercise was intended merely to build Pedroia’s arm strength, which can diminish if he only spends his time at second base for too prolonged a stretch.
“Gotta keep my arm strong,” explained Pedroia. “Gotta go cut off some relays.”
“It’s good to throw a little longer,” agreed Scutaro. “I can understand that, because I used to play a lot of second. Why you play second, your arm gets down. It gets kind of weak.”
Scutaro said that he heard the suggestions that the Sox were considering a move of Pedroia to shortstop, an approach that could have allowed the club to pursue free-agent options at second base such as Orlando Hudson. Though Scutaro believes that Pedroia could handle the position, neither he nor the club have any dismay about the outcome of the offseason.
“Everything worked out,” said Scutaro.
In theory, the team believes that Pedroia can play shortstop. But it appears that fact isn’t particularly relevant to the club at this juncture.
“Sure he is [capable of playing short],” said Sox third base and infield coach Tim Bogar. “But we’re not even going there.”
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