Posted on April 19, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Knee problems are once again keeping Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia from staying on the field. Just over a week after making his season debut, the Red Sox placed Pedroia on the 10-day Injured List Thursday because of continued knee pain. The club is unsure how long he’ll be out, which could mean an extended stint on the IL.
Pedroia underwent offseason knee surgery prior to the 2018 campaign. He returned in late May but only played three games before realizing he wasn’t at full strength. Pedroia ended up sitting out the rest of the 2018 season and needed additional time getting ready for the 2019 campaign. After a little more than a week on the active roster, the pain in Pedroia’s knee was once again too much to withstand, forcing another trip to the IL.
“He felt a pop, I think he said, yesterday,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained on Thursday. “As we know, the knee is never going to be 100 percent. It’s amazing that any player can play with what he’s gone through.”
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Since he was activated, the Red Sox have been slowly working Pedroia back into the lineup as both a second baseman and DH. But even with regular off days, Pedroia’s knee has not responded well early in the year. He’s also just 2 for 20 in the six games he’s managed to play, so nothing seems to be going Pedroia’s way in 2019.
“He was a little bit down. I haven’t seen him like that,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “So hopefully it’s nothing serious, [hopefully] it’s something that he just got scared.”
Without Pedroia, the Red Sox will lean heavily on Eduardo Nunez to handle second base. The club called up reliever Marcus Walden from triple-A to take Pedroia’s roster spot. That means Boston will be a little short on position players for the time being. Unfortunately, Nunez is off to a slow start this season offensively. He’s hitting just .159 with an OPS of .360 through the first three weeks of the season.
The Red Sox are hopeful that Brock Holt can return soon and give them another option at second base. Holt is on a minor league rehab assignment after going to the IL with a scratched cornea earlier this month. However, Cora has indicated that Holt is still not seeing the ball well. The Red Sox are trying to give prospect Michael Chavis some exposure at second base, but he’s not ready to play that position in the majors. That makes the light hitting Tzu-Wei Lin the only other infielder at triple-A the team could call up at the moment. That will likely force them to continue along with Nunez for the time being.
Obviously, the Red Sox weren’t expecting Pedroia to play 150 games this season. But it’s still disappointing for both him and the club to go on the IL this early in the season. Pedroia still has three years and $40 million left on his contract, so his health continues to be both a short-term and long-term problem for them. Alas, his status moving forward is once again up in the air. For a team that’s still struggling to get going, worrying about Pedroia’s continued knee problems aren’t going to help.