Red Sox' handling of Dustin Pedroia early in season open to criticism


NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia has one of the best excuses imaginable for hitting .105. He's basically playing for the first time in two years.

The Red Sox, however, might have some explaining to do.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski provided conflicting viewpoints on the second baseman Tuesday, noting that he's exactly where the Red Sox expected him to be in his return from serious knee issues, but disputing that he could've benefited from more than three rehab outings.

Pedroia is just 2-for-19 after five games as he tries to regain his timing at the plate.

"He's not there from an offensive perspective, but guys don't miss two years and come back and swing the bat like they're an All-Star at that point, so he's going to take some time to find his timing," Dombrowski said.

"It's about exactly where they said he'd be," Dombrowski added.

If that's the case, Dombrowski was asked, why didn't Pedroia spend more time at Triple-A? He could've rehabbed for up to 30 days there so he was better prepared for life in the major leagues.

"He felt he was ready to go," Dombrowski said. "To stretch this out over a lengthy period, it would take a long time period to get through the whole time. He's not going to be ready to play -- which we've said along -- every day, for a lengthy period. So we're willing to deal with the situation."

Pedroia's inability to play every day hurt the team on Monday, when he shifted from second base to DH before an 8-1 loss to the Orioles, necessitating the debut of catcher Christian Vazquez at second.

The decision was hardly Pedroia's fault. He's coming back from cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee that limited him to only three games last year. He won't be playing every day for the foreseeable future.

"He's working on it," Dombrowski said. "He's hit some balls decently. He played second base great the other day turning the double plays. It's still a situation where only time will tell, because, the real key for Dustin is going to be when he plays days in a row. Part of the plan is not at that point yet. As time goes on, it's apparent he can handle short term. We're very happy and the doctors are very happy and he's very happy with it. But we can't run him out there right now for a week at a time. 

"That's just not good for his knee. We know that. Unfortunately, we've dealt with some minor injuries with some guys, so we've had to fit some pieces together there, but he's making strides, he's coming along the way the doctors have said. I'm not ready to make any proclamations that we're through this at this time. We still have a way to go."

Maybe a longer rehab stint would've benefited everyone.

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