Dustin Pedroia ready for spring training
It was a frustrating summer and disappointing fall for one of the club's main catalysts, but after having surgery in which a screw was inserted into his foot, Pedroia is ready for 2011.
"I'm good. I'm getting better every day," he said.
The All-Star infielder compared his offseason preparation as being similar to that of a pitcher working with a shoulder program. Before Pedroia participates in any baseball-related activities on a daily basis, he needs to first warm up his foot, which includes balance exercises.
He's dealt with the normal aches and pains during his rehab this winter, but he's expected to be 100 percent once spring training begins in a couple of weeks.
"He's pretty much fully healed," a team source said. "He won't be having any specific restrictions on him. He's got to build his way back up to being able to run as much and be on his toes and do a lot of those things."
Pedroia suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his foot during an interleague game against the San Francisco Giants on June 25. After nearly two months of rehab last summer, he was activated from the disabled list. After playing only two games in August, it was clear his foot did not respond the way he had hoped; he went back on the DL before it was decided he would have season-ending surgery.
Now, he's ready to go.
"I'm in great shape physically," Pedroia said. "The thing is, with the foot, there's a screw in there and with the surgery I'm still getting soft tissue out of there. I'm still getting through some soreness and swelling, which is normal. It's just the way I manage it. All the problems that I've had have been normal and we're trying to figure out how to find ways to get through each problem I have."
During his rehab, Pedroia has dealt with a sore heel and toe, but he's able to run and work out without pain once he gets his foot loose.
"Any [discomfort] that he might have in his foot or his ankle, it doesn't have anything to do with the bone that was fixed. ... It's because as you first get back to running there will be soreness because [he hasn't] done it in a long time," the source said.
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Pedroia has been hitting and throwing and deems himself ready for baseball. The only thing he hasn't been given clearance to do is take ground balls on dirt because the medical staff does not want him wearing spikes at this point. He's been taking grounders on grass with turf shoes.
"They don't want me to put my cleats on and act like an idiot and go 100 miles an hour when we're still three weeks away from spring training," Pedroia said.
He's scheduled to start taking regular fungoes next week. Meanwhile, he's been playing long loss and has been hitting on the field for the past two weeks.
"Everything has been normal," he said.
The first official reporting date for position players is Feb. 19, but Pedroia is planning on being at the Player Development Complex on Feb. 11. He'll meet with the training staff once he arrives and they'll formulate a plan moving forward.
While Pedroia has been focused on getting healthy this offseason, there's no doubt he's fired up about the upcoming season due to all the acquisitions general manager Theo Epstein has made this winter.
"I'm excited," Pedroia said. "We've seen Carl [Crawford] for a long time, and you see what he adds to the game and what he brings to the team. Playing middle infield, when he gets on base, speed wears you down. So it's going to be exciting to have him and Jacoby [Ellsbury], two of the fastest players in baseball on one team. That's going to be real special.
"Getting Adrian [Gonzalez], geez, man. You can move [Kevin Youkilis] to third and put another guy who's going to produce just like Youk does at a corner position, we're going to be pretty exciting to watch."
Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, Jason Varitek, Victor Martinez (now with the Tigers), Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka were all among the wounded for a significant amount of time last season. That's a major factor why the Red Sox failed to reach the postseason.
With all the moves Epstein made this offseason, plus the healthy group of players, the Red Sox look great on paper. Now it's only a matter of getting to Fort Myers, Fla., and preparing for 2011.
"Everyone is excited, man," Pedroia said. "It's one of those things where you can't wait to get to spring training because we all know how last year went. Everyone is proud of the way we handled all the injuries and they way we played. Nobody ever complained about anything, we just went out there and played. Everyone acted professional and played the right way."
Pedroia is especially fired up for the upcoming season. He was miserable watching from the dugout last year and can't wait to join his teammates on the field in a few weeks.
"I'm just excited to get out there and do what I do," he said. "You definitely appreciate the game more -- if that's even possible -- I just can't wait to get out there and get into the every day grind of the season."
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.