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Pedroia on The Big Show: ‘I feel like we can beat anybody’

07.01.10 at 2:25 am ET
By

Dustin Pedroia

A week after injuring his foot on a foul ball, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia sat down with the guys on The Big Show to discuss his injury, the team’s strong play despite the lineup changes, his career day in Colorado, trash talking and laser shows.

“I’ve been saying ‘laser show’ since, well, it’s been a long time,” said Pedroia. “I remember hitting a bomb when I was 11 years old and someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, what happened? I was in the bathroom.’ ‘You just missed the laser show, buddy. Might want to hold onto that bathroom a little longer. Take a bathroom break after the game.’”

A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to the full interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.

Sorry to hear about your injury.

Yeah, well, when you hit the ball that hard and you hit that part of your foot, something’s going to give. And you should check the ball, the ball’s a little messed up too.

Can you try to explain how Adrian Beltré can hit balls out of the park on one knee?

He’s putting everything he has into that ball. Last night he hit that ball for a double, the ball hit the Monster and he hadn’t even moved yet.

I think he’s hit about five or six of those this year from his knee.

Oh yeah.

Rumor on the street is that you’re out six weeks.

You know what’s funny about that, I went to the doctor the other day and I’m waiting to hear everything. Me and Mikey Reinold are just getting out of the car, he’s just dropping me off at my place, and I get up and sit down on my couch and there it is [on ESPN] that I’m out six weeks. I was like, ‘Man, I wish they told me that at the doctor’s office.’

Did you know right away when you fouled it off, that you were in trouble?

It hurt and usually when you do that – I’ve done that a thousand times in my life, everyone has… I missed [the pad on my shoe]. I went to get up – and it was cold that night – and I was just thinking, “Oh man, it just got me good, it’s cold, maybe that’s it.” And then I tried to get up and I couldn’t walk. [Terry Francona] and Mike Reinold came out and said, “What do you got?” I said, “Let me just finish the at-bat and we’ll see.” Thank God he threw me a ball because that would have been a circus, me trying to run to first base.

Knowing your short tolerance for things that get in your way, this injury must have really gotten to you.

Yeah, the thing in Pawtucket – and that was my first year – I got hit in the hand. These are freak things and I never thought I’d foul a ball off my foot and break my foot, but those things happen. We play so many games, something, sooner or later, is going to happen. I’ve never missed a significant amount of time before, so it’s kind of tough, but I’m going to get in there as soon as possible.

How long before you can come off the crutches? At the All-Star break?

They said two weeks on crutches and then in another three weeks, they’re going to take one of those CT scans and see how my bone is healing, then we’ll go from there.

One game rehab, back in?

Yeah, we’ll see where we are. I mean, I’m anxious to get back, but the guys that are filling in are doing a great job for us. As long as we keep winning ball games, it makes me take in a deep breath and heal a little bit better.

How hard was it to return back to Fenway and watch your team play while you’re stuck in the dugout?

It wasn’t that bad. I thought I would be miserable, but we’re 3-0 since I got hurt, so as long as we’re winning ball games, I’m going to have a smile on my face. I’m trying to do all I can during the game [to watch] and help guys out. I’m always around, but we got to just find ways to win games and we’re doing that, which is exciting.

What is the camaraderie like in the clubhouse with all those new faces and personalities?

We’re just trying to find ways to win, I mean it doesn’t matter. Guys have stepped up throughout the whole year. We’ve had a lot of guys get hurt all year, so each guy that steps up feels like they can play [well] and just fill out the new role. Every guy that has stepped up for a guy that has been injured has performed well and if they keep that going, when everyone gets healthy, we’re going to be one of the best teams in the big leagues. I mean, we already are with guys hurt so it’s pretty exciting.

When was it that the offense just clicked for you this season?

I tweaked my knee earlier in the season so that was affecting me a little bit. That last game in Cleveland, however, I got a few hits and I think we had an off-day, so I started to feel better physically, and the game started slowing down for me. I wasn’t trying to go out and hit everything instead of letting the ball come to me, which I normally do, and it all just took off. That’s what I’ve done and I’m a consistent hitter, but I have my hot streaks and my cold streaks, so once I got going, I felt like I couldn’t get out. It’s just tough timing, breaking my foot.

We know Jason Varitek is the captain and leader of this team, but it just seemed like this season, you’ve been the one to speak out and say the right things to the media.

I think we needed it. Everyone was struggling, we weren’t playing [well]. We got swept by [the Orioles] up in Baltimore. We weren’t playing [well] and I thought somebody had to say something. I don’t think me saying that made us start winning, we just started playing better. We started pitching better, we started hitting better, we did everything better.

When you pitch [better] – and our pitching has been great – that’s why we’ve been on a run for a while, because of our pitching. But obviously, we’ve been swinging the bats well, too, so if we put them together, we’re going to be real tough.

What fans were the most scared of at the beginning of the season wasn’t the offense, it was the run prevention.

You know, it’s funny about that because we all sit and talk. I’m in the batting cage – I’m going to get asbestos poisoning from being in that cage all the time. We’re leading the league in runs scored, I mean we’re leading baseball, so obviously the guys we have are good offensive players. Our approach is great, we find ways to beat good pitchers. Ubaldo Jimenez, that guy was throwing 100 miles per hour and we scored six runs off him, so we have a great team and I feel like we can beat anybody.

The Sox have done a much better job of beating great pitching this year.

Our at-bats have been great, one through nine [in the lineup]. Marco [Scutaro] has been huge for us. He gets us great [at-bats] every night; a long at-bat with six, seven, eight pitches and then he either gets a hit or a walk. We have guys who do that, one through nine, and when you do that, you’re a tough team to beat.

How has this team with so many different dynamics worked so well, playing in different roles than they’re used to?

Well, their personality. All those guys that you said are first class people. You put them in any situation, they’re going to do the best they can to succeed. That’s the main thing; I think our organization has done a great job of finding guys who want to win and put winning first, [putting] themselves aside. When you got 25 guys doing that, it doesn’t matter who’s in there, they’re going to do the job and help to win the game.

How well have you adjusted to your double play partner, Marco Scutaro?

He’s a great guy [who] wants to win. He’s one of those guys who if he see something that you’re doing [wrong]… all the players police each other so much. We see how each other swings, how we’re doing everything and we tell each other, “Hey man, you’re letting that ball get too deep” or “You’re doing something at the plate.” He’s great at that. We’re always out there talking on the field and what a player. I’m pretty excited for him to be here and get noticed because he’s a great all-around player and he’s going to help us win.

So with all these players policing one another, does that explain why rookies have come to this team and produced great performances?

No, not really. You got to understand, the young guys we’ve brought up are really good; Jacoby [Ellsbury], all the pitchers we brought up, [Jon] Lester, all those guys have got great stuff. They’re going to succeed sooner or later, you just got to let them be. I think the biggest thing for a young guy is when they get brought up, you just got to let them be themselves. Don’t try to take them out of their game or do anything to make them think to themselves, “Hey, this is what I’ve got to do to be a successful big leaguer, I got to do it.” I think we do a great job of that.

With the new guys, like Scutaro and Beltré, do they need a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to get relaxed with Fenway and the large expectations of the fans?

Not really, the only thing that [I could agree with] is they had to get used to the field. Playing at Fenway, it’s a little different because the ball snakes to you and can take some bad hops. Other than that, they both swung the bats [well] and they’re running the bases fine. [Playing] more [home] games, being around the guys, the new atmosphere, the new everything, it just takes a few games. Once they got used to it, you see what type of players they are. Beltré, he might just win the MVP, he’s having an unbelievable season. Marco, the things that he brings to our team are pretty special.

How fun is it to stand behind guys like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz and just see them work?

Oh yeah, they’re aces in the big leagues. Jon, after what he’s been through – I didn’t play with Buck in the minor leagues – but Jon Lester, in AA, this is what he was like in AA, if you can imagine that, he was mowing people down. He’s a pretty special talent and his makeup and everything that goes along with him is pretty special. Buck struggled in ’08 and had a tough time, then last year he started down and then he started to work hard. Now you’re seeing him maturing. In my opinion, he’s an All-Star and there’s not a handful of guys that are better than those two.

What was your perception of Tito when times were tough for the Red Sox and he had to juggle the lineup regularly?

I think he did a great job. It takes time for everybody. We had some new pieces that had just [come] in and I think we all didn’t know what to expect. Once everyone settled down and once the lineup settled down, we started playing better, we had been pitching great. Sometimes you just [have] to weather the storm and every team is going to have bumps in the road, but we just had ours in the first 20 games, or whatever it was. Now, I know we’ve had injuries, but we’re one game out of first place in the toughest division in baseball, so we just got to keep it going.

How crazy are you going to be during this idle time before beginning your rehab assignment?

I actually do more stuff now than when I was playing. I got here at the same time and did all my rehab, then lifted weights for about 45 minutes, then took some ground balls on my knees and then threw a little bit. I want to make sure that my arm [doesn’t get] out of shape; my hand-eye, I want to make sure that’s fine so when I’m all healed up, I’ll play a couple of games, and then, let’s rock.

Can you explain the phenomenon that is “Laser Show”?

I’ve been saying “laser show” since, well, it’s been a long time. I remember hitting a bomb when I was 11 years old and someone came up to me and said, “Hey, what happened? I was in the bathroom.” “You just missed the laser show, buddy. Might want to hold onto that bathroom a little longer. Take a bathroom break after the game.” …I think it’s ’89 when it started.

So are you going to continue speaking trash while you’re on the DL?

Oh yeah, that part never leaves you.

Talking to the other pitcher, screaming at him?

No, no. I don’t actually scream at the other pitcher. I like all the guys, it’s good competition, but it’s good to have fun too.

Are there guys who do talk trash to other pitchers from the dugout?

No, no. Nobody’s doing that… except for Orlando Hudson, he gets all over them all the time.

Have any of the new guys that have come here this year been surprised with how much trash you talk?

Oh, [Mike] Cameron said that in spring training.

Yeah, he said that Bret Boone was pretty bad, but you were worse. How much of that is your personal makeup, or just your personality?

I don’t know, I just like to have fun. If you aren’t having fun, then pick another profession. You got to do something else. It should be fun, coming to the yard and hanging out with your teammates and playing against the best players in the world; this is a blast.

How well does security know you now in Colorado?

They know me after that last game. That wasn’t even a laser show… that was a rocket fest.

The story is during the 2007 World Series, when you hit the home run at Coors Field, security wouldn’t let you into the clubhouse.

Yeah, they asked me for my ID and they wouldn’t let me in. It turned into a fiasco. I just told them, very politely, I just said, “You know what? You should just start watching the games, man. I’m the one leading off World Series’ with bombs. Go ask Jeff Francis who I am.”

I had another great line when I left Colorado, and I haven’t told anybody this yet. I was walking out to the same guy and I said, “Hey, you might want to get some chest protectors for the fans for the next home stand… Go get some catcher’s equipment for the guy in the 50th row. Air’s a little thin here.”

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