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Dustin Pedroia says he ‘heals great’, Will Middlebrooks feels better and other Red Sox notes

07.06.12 at 8:43 pm ET
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Will Middlebrooks hopes to be back up to speed sometime this weekend. (AP)

Dustin Pedroia went on the disabled list Friday afternoon but the Red Sox are hoping Will Middlebrooks won’t be following him with a sore left hamstring.

Pedroia was sporting a hard cast on his right hand to protect his thumb while Middlebrooks took batting practice on Friday after a sluggish off-day on Thursday when he reported to Fenway to test his left hamstring.

“Will was out [Thursday],” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “He felt about 70 percent. He felt just OK. He ran [before Friday's game], he felt closer to 100 percent so that’s where he is. He’s close. There’s a chance he could pinch-hit for sure this weekend.”

Middlebrooks – a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and a .298 batting average – hasn’t played since Sunday’s 2-1 win in Seattle, sitting out all three games in Oakland with the tightness in the back of his left leg.

As for Pedroia, the Red Sox released a formal statement just after placing the second baseman on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. The team made a point of noting that this injury is new and unrelated to the torn adductor on the same thumb earlier this season. That injury, according to the team, has healed. Pedroia injured the thumb diving for a pop fly single to shallow right field in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss in Oakland.

“Dustin Pedroia hyperextended his right thumb on July 3, 2012,” the statement read. “He was examined by the Red Sox medical staff and an MRI was performed. Dustin sustained an injury to the volar plate of his right thumb. Dustin will be treated conservatively with a brief period of immobilization. The previous injury to his right thumb adductor muscle has completely healed. This was confirmed by MRI.”

[Click here to listen to Dustin Pedroia explain his latest stint on the DL with a thumb injury.]

Pedroia was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Wednesday while Pedro Ciriaco was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place.

Pedroia said he wasn’t surprised that his previous injury had completely healed, citing his recent production at the plate as an example of the progress.

“My other injury is healed. It’s 100 percent healed, and I could tell because I was hitting balls in the air to the pull-side. That’s a big thing because it means my bat speed is fine,” he said. “That’s the part that’s frustrating. I was about to get on a huge run the rest of the way, like I always do, and this happens. But there is still a lot of games left, I’ll heal this thing up, get out there and it will make a huge difference.

“I’m a lizard. I heal while I play. I’m a freak healer. I heal great.”

The MRI of Pedroia’s thumb was being examined by hand specialists Dr. Donald Sheridan and Dr. Thomas Graham Friday for second opinions.

“It’s just a bad break. I don’t know,” he said. “I’m pretty frustrated by it. You work so hard in the offseason to prevent injury and you get a couple of freak accidents, same thumb. It stinks. I’ll be fine. I’ll produce in a major way this season to help our team, I promise you guys that.”

Carl Crawford (left elbow) spoke before Friday’s game with the Yankees and is expected to join Triple-A Pawtucket over the weekend. So far in eight minor league rehab games, Crawford is 7-for-24 (.292) with a double, a triple, four runs scored and seven walks, playing most recently for Double-A Portland.

Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) continued his rehab on Friday in Portland.

“There’s not [minor league] games during the All-Star break so they’ll play as often as the schedule allows them,” Valentine said. “Maybe we’ll do a little simulation here. I don’t know. I don’t know how many guys are sticking around.”

Scott Podsednik was activated from the disabled list on Friday and immediately optioned to Pawtucket, likely in advance of him getting called up to Boston for Saturday for the day-night doubleheader, when rosters, under the new collective bargaining agreement, are allowed to expand to 26 players for the day.

Clay Buchholz (esophogitis) threw a side session on Friday afternoon and Valentine indicated he could re-join the rotation “late” in the first rotation through or “early in the second” rotation.

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