|Pedroia: ‘I’m getting better’||06.15.10 at 11:17 pm ET|
For Dustin Pedroia, the thump is starting to come back. He is once again lining the ball around the park.
In his club’s 6-3 victory over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, he went 2-for-3 with a double, marking the fourth straight game (and seventh straight at Fenway) in which he has had at least one two-bagger. That is the longest streak of home games with doubles by a Red Sox since Wade Boggs had a seven-game run in 1983.
The run is more noteworthy because of what preceded it. Last week, Pedroia went 14 at-bats without a hit, and a knee injury — incurred on a slide into home against the Tigers last month — that was affecting his swing came to light. That led to questions about how long Pedroia might be impaired at the plate. Even Pedroia admits now that he had fallen out of his approach.
“I thought I was messed up there for a while. I was having trouble walking up stairs. It kind of worried me. My legs are like three inches – that was part of the problem,” he laughed. “I was striking out quite a bit. I was lunging out to try to hit the ball. That’s not really a part of my game. I try to stay on my backside as much as possible.”
But in the last handful of games, he appears to have turned the corner. Over his last five games (including four contests since he underwent an MRI on his knee on Friday that revealed no structural damage), he has recorded as many hits (10) as he has outs, resulting in outstanding across-the-board numbers: a .500 average, .545 OBP and .700 slugging percentage. On Tuesday, he scored three runs, crossing the plate in each of the three innings in which his team collected runs.
His teammates have seen too many runs like this to be surprised.
“That’s the last guy I worry about, Pedroia,” said David Ortiz. “I knew it was coming. Laser show.”
Pedroia, too, seems to be enjoying renewed confidence. He continues to get treatment (“Anti-inflammatories, Advil, whatever that does,” he shrugged) that appears to have restored his swing to its usual effect.
“I’m going to get 650 at-bats. There are going to be some times when I hit it hard and some times when I don’t hit it hard,” Pedroia informed a questioner who asked about his recent approach. “I’m glad you recognize that I’m hitting the ball hard.”
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