Posted on May 27, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
It’s possible that Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has already played his last game. That was the message he delivered at a Monday press conference in which he expressed uncertainty about his future. The press conference was held on the day the Red Sox officially moved Pedroia to the 60-day Injured List while he continues to rehab a chronic knee injury that has essentially kept him on the sidelines since the start of last season.
The 35-year-old Pedroia played in six games for the Red Sox in April but was quickly returned to the IL because of persistent knee issues. He started another minor league rehab assignment earlier this month. However, he and the club announced on Monday that he’ll be stepping away from the rehab process indefinitely so he can have time to think about his future.
“[I am] at a point right now where I need some time,” said Pedroia. “Right now I know I need a break from the everyday stresses I’ve been dealing with.”
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Pedroia’s knee issues started to become serious during the 2017 season. He pushed himself to finish the season before undergoing offseason surgery to repair cartilage in the knee. However, he managed to play just three games in 2018, quickly discovering his body wasn’t ready for the rigors of playing baseball every day. His struggles to get his knee right have continued this season and now threaten to end his career.
“The last game I played, the pain was kind of to a point where I had to tell the trainer,” explains Pedroia said. “It’s to a point now where my knee is not allowing me to play every day. It’s taken awhile to realize that. I’ve tried so many things, from braces to orthotics to rehab methods to seeing different doctors to every type of treatment possible. So I’m at a point right now where I need some time. That’s what my status is.”
Moving forward, Pedroia plans to spend the next week with his teammates before going to his home in Arizona. He will stop doing any kind of rehab on his knee and take time to consider his next move. Pedroia says he hasn’t had time to think about whether this might be the end of his career. However, he’s sure he doesn’t want to undergo another knee surgery.
“I think the time will go by, and I’ll know more about it,” says Pedroia. “I haven’t had a day off in a long time. Every day I wake up and I do some sort of rehab to do anything. I haven’t even sat down and thought about [retirement]. I just know that right now I need a break from just the every-day stresses of dealing with what I’m dealing with, and that’s it.”
Obviously, the Red Sox aren’t planning on having him back this season given the time he’s missed the past two seasons. Eduardo Nunez and Michael Chavis have spent most of the season sharing duties at second base for Boston. Chavis is new to the position but has been a frequent contributor offensively. Nunez, meanwhile, is more experienced defensively but has struggled with the bat. The Red Sox will likely carry on with that duo at second base the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Pedroia and the Red Sox faithful wait to see if his knee will allow him to play again. Having spent so much time rehabbing, Pedroia would surely like to play again if he can. He also remains under contract through the 2021 season. However, he has nothing left to prove on the field, and if this is the end, he’ll go down as one of the greats in Red Sox history.
“To me, he’s a Boston legend as a player,” said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “I don’t know if there’s another player I’ve been around in baseball who would give the effort that he’s given to try to get back. We’ll see what ends up happening, but it’s a wise decision to step back at this time and worry about Dustin as a person and not the player.”