John Farrell: Dustin Pedroia is ’100 percent’ and unaffected after Opening Day torn thumb ligament
|05.29.13 at 6:55 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Red Sox manager John Farrell, speaking prior to Wednesday’s game between the Red Sox and Phillies, said that while Dustin Pedroia demonstrated a high pain threshold while playing through a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the left thumb earlier this year, the second baseman is no longer affected by the injury.
“I think he’s 100 percent,” said Farrell. “It became less and less a conversation very quick, to the point where now it’s not even part of the conversation with him.”
Though Pedroia could have opted for surgery after suffering the injury — which he incurred on an ill-advised headfirst dive into first base — Farrell was careful to note that the second baseman’s willingness to remain in the lineup was similar to what teammates have shown in playing through their own conditions. The manager compared Pedroia’s insistence in staying on the field to the efforts that David Ortiz and Mike Napoli have made to be lineup regulars.
“After he slid into first base and the diagnosis was what it was, and Pedey’s contribution to that decision-making, he felt like, and all the medical people were concurring that no further damage would be suffered with continued play,” Farrell explained of the decision to let Pedroia play. “And he’s played at an elite level the entire year. I’d categorize Pedey’s situation much like other players that are dealing with some physical ailment that they manage through treatment. The fact is — I think he said it best — I’m a baseball player. I’m going to go out and play. So it becomes cut and dry in his mind. To be honest, there’s never a doubt coming into the ballpark whether he’s going to be available in the lineup on a given day. Whether it’s David’s Achilles, whether it’s his heels, whether it’s Mike’s hip, guys have issues that they deal with and Pedey is no different in this case.”
Given that Pedroia has played every game this year while hitting .332/.422/.444, Farrell said it’s become evident that the 29-year-old is not too limited by it. He suggested that Pedroia’s low extra-base hit total (three homers and 14 doubles through 53 games) does not reflect his struggles with the condition.
“Based on watching his swing and based on how well he’s hit, it hasn’t been an issue,” said Farrell. “I know a lot of people have asked, well, why are his power numbers what they are? To me, that’s been more circumstance where pitchers have consistently pitched to him. And yet at the same time, you look at his production and it’s approaching his MVP year. I can’t say that it’s had an adverse affect.”
Instead, Farrell suggested that Pedroia’s willingness to play through pain has had a positive impact in a broader sense — not necessarily on his own play, but instead on that of his club.
“He’s got a high pain threshold. There’s no doubt about it,” said Farrell. “I’m not saying that because he’s dealing with something. I think his career has shown that he’s not going to be taken out of the lineup easily. He’ll fight you tooth and nail to stay in the lineup, even if there’s things he’s dealing with. He sets a tone, not only of performance, but of grit and determination. Other guys feed off of that.”
Pedroia said the injury was a non-issue given that it has not stopped him from playing. He expressed frustration that the injury — which was discussed by owner John Henry, GM Ben Cherington and the second baseman himself in the Boston Herald story breaking news of the thumb condition — became public knowledge.
“I didn’t expect this to come out. As players here, we all want our medical stuff to stay private and all that stuff. I kind of feel uncomfortable talking about it. When players are playing, we don’t want to talk about injuries and stuff like that. … If you miss time, yeah, you should be able to reveal it to everybody, but guys who are playing, there’s no point in talking about anything,” said Pedroia. “I’m fine. I’ve told you that from the beginning. Everything’s fine. I appreciate your guys’ concern.”
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