Red Sox notes: Dustin Pedroia ‘banged up a little bit, but he’s ready to go’; David Ortiz readies to play first; Matt Thornton being cautious
|08.18.13 at 7:21 pm ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia endured a 30th birthday scare in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game when he slammed a foul ball off his left shin, just above the ankle. But, while still dealing with some soreness, the second baseman — who was replaced in the field by Brock Holt in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game — is back in his customary third spot in the lineup and playing second base on Sunday.
“He’s banged up a little bit, but he’s ready to go,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “If his name wasn’t in the lineup, I guarantee he’d be in my office. He’s earned the right to speak his mind, and we trust what he says with how he feels or what he’s feeling at the plate or any area of his game. Honestly, coming in here today, this wasn’t even a second thought in my mind, that he wouldn’t be in the lineup.”
There is little new about the notion that the second baseman is driven to participate in as many games as he can. Pedroia has missed just one game this season, and leads the majors with participation in 124 contests entering Sunday night. And he’s done so despite the fact the he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on Opening Day. Even though the thumb impacted his offensive approach for a time — preventing the second baseman from being able to turn on balls and drive them in the early part of the season — he recognized that he still had the ability to impact games even without hitting for power, whether by getting on base at an elite level or by submitting his characteristically outstanding work in the field.
“He leads by example — in situations like this or his thumb or how he goes about every at-bat, the way he plays defense. We also know he’s a vocal leader in his own right, but his actions speak volumes and much louder than anything he could possibly say. He’s full of grit, as we know, and sets the tone for how we play this game,” said Farrell. “The game and his family are the two most important things in his life. What we all witness in Dustin, we see it in the clubhouse every day. There’s no false pretenses with him. He’s about one thing, and that’s winning with the Red Sox.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Mike Napoli is out for a second straight game due to soreness in the plantar fascia of his foot. Farrell said that he would be reassessed at the start of the series against the Giants in San Francisco on Monday. The manager also suggested that David Ortiz will start at first base in two of the Sox’ three games against the Giants (who will feature three right-handed starters in the series), but that Napoli’s availability will help determine in how many games Ortiz will be the starting first baseman against the Dodgers (who will feature a pair of left-handed starters in the series). Given that Napoli would likely start no more than one game against the Giants, if his foot is not progressing as quickly as possible by Monday, it may prove a sensible time to place him on the DL given that he’s likely to see limited action in the immediate future.
– Left-hander Matt Thornton, on the DL since August 7 (retroactive to August 5) due to an oblique strain, threw what Farrell described as “a strong bullpen” session on Sunday. He will throw one more bullpen session on Tuesday — either joining the team on the road or staying behind — before either facing teammates in a simulated game or starting a minor league rehab assignment.
Thornton, who has a 2.16 with six strikeouts and two walks in 8 1/3 innngs spanning 10 games since his mid-July trade from the Red Sox to the White Sox, endorsed a conservative course, particularly given that he continues to feel some discomfort in the oblique.
“I’ve still got a little ways to go yet. Everything’s going well, I haven’t had any setbacks. It’s about how it reacts. I’m being cautious with it,” said the 36-year-old. “I’ve been on the DL one time in my career, it was for the 15 days, I didn’t miss much time, I was able to jump right back into it. … For the most part, I recover pretty quickly. The injury thing is fairly new to me. I’ve never had something like this. This is all a new process. I’m trying to make sure it’s not one of those five to six week things. I’m being smart about it.”
– Farrell said that the team is “still a ways away” from making decisions about how many September call-ups to summon or who those call-ups will be. He did say that he doesn’t just want to call up players to expose them to the big league environment, instead preferring only to bring up players for whom there would be a clear role.
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