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Dustin Pedroia acknowledges playing through torn UCL in thumb

05.29.13 at 9:09 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia revealed Tuesday that he has been playing with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

In an interview with the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, Pedroia said he was told he had a complete tear. He injured the thumb sliding into first base in an Opening Day win over the Yankees, although he said it was impossible to determine if it could have been a pre-existing tear. Doctors told him he could play through the injury without risk of long-term damage as long as he could deal with the discomfort.

“People shouldn’t know if you’re 100 percent or not. It is what it is, and it’s my responsibility to perform well,” Pedroia told the Herald before Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Phillies. “My mindset is if I’m nicked up, I have to find other ways to perform. That’s the way I think about it. Maybe I’m crazy.”

The general recovery time for such an injury is eight weeks.

“You go and come back in eight weeks — that’s a lot of ballgames without one of the team’s best players, so my job’s to go out there and do the best job I can to help the team win. That’s the way I look at things,” Pedroia said.

Pedroia’s toughness impressed owner John Henry.

“It would have taken the heart and soul out of that club on Opening Day,” Henry said. “We already had lost [David Ortiz] and we didn’t know when he was coming back. It just meant so much to that club to have Dustin in the lineup every day.”

Added Henry: “I had two or three talks with him during the time about what he should do. I kept talking about it’s a long season and he kept talking about not missing a game. The guy played through the pain, through the swelling, the discoloration. He played through it, and no one ever knew. And he’s hit what, .330?”

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