- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was hoping he would be able to return to the lineup this season but admitted Friday that there's a strong chance he'll have season-ending surgery to repair his fractured left foot.
The decision was made Thursday to put him back in the boot for seven days and he will be given a CT scan next Friday in Boston. A determination will then be made whether or not to have a pin surgically attached to the bone to help the healing process.
"If I'm not feeling any better, and it shows that it's not healing, I'll have that surgery," Pedroia said.
A pin would be inserted and his recovery time would be about three months.
"If in a week I'm not feeling any better, then we're going to [have surgery] so I don't have this problem anymore," he added. "The bad part about surgery, I'm going to be on crutches, in a cast, and that's tough. But, if it fixes everything, which obviously it's going to, then that's the best route to go right now."
The Red Sox conducted a lengthy conference call on Thursday with independent physician Dr. Robert Anderson, Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, general manager Theo Epstein, a representative from Pedroia's agency, manager Terry Francona and Pedroia. All were in agreement that this is the best way to handle the situation.
If, for some reason, the Red Sox decide to allow the bone to heal naturally, Pedroia runs the risk of re-injuring the foot, which could affect his availability next season. Even though the Red Sox will wait until the end of next week before making a final decision, Pedroia said on Friday that he's leaning toward having the surgery.
Francona seemed to be on the same page as Pedroia. "You always prefer to do stuff non-operatively, I think that's everybody's first choice, but if it is not healing to everybody's satisfaction, and then if you wait all winter and he starts to do his [offseason workout] and it starts hurting, then you're backing him up into spring training," Francona said. "We're just trying to do what's right."
When he first suffered the injury after fouling a ball off his foot on June 25 in San Francisco, Pedroia was told his recovery period would take six weeks, and he was able to return in seven. He was activated Aug. 17 and played only two games before being placed on the DL again.
Now that it appears his season is over, Pedroia is clearly disappointed.
"It's upsetting," he said. "I just want to get to next week and go from there. I don't know if I'll need the surgery, but it hasn't been healing that well pretty much the whole time."
Dr. Anderson, a foot specialist who was brought in for a second opinion, said on the conference call that if he was the lead physician on Pedroia's case from the beginning he would have handled it the same way, according to Francona.
"That was one of the questions we all had, because we don't want to make a mistake," Francona said. "He said, 'If I was the attending [doctor] I would have done it the exact same way. With the amount of healing that took place, I would have cleared him to play, also.'"
Pedroia said he doesn't believe he was rushed back too soon.
"No, not at all," he said. "It was realistic to come back when I played. It's just a bad bone. I gave it a shot and they told me there was a chance [a setback] could happen and I would have to have a pin put in. That's just the way it is."
Pedroia was told he had to be completely honest with the organization and medical staff that if he felt any discomfort or pain, he needed to back off. And that's what ultimately happened.
It was also explained during the conference call that the bone does not receive enough blood supply and oxygen, so the healing has a timetable of its own.
"We'll further evaluate it when we get home and see where the healing is," Francona said.
"I try to take a positive out of everything," Pedroia said. "If I don't have to have surgery, I'm going to try to play."
That seems unlikely at this point.
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.
Red Sox second baseman becoming realistic about chances of season-ending surgery.