Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia will try to play through thumb injury
The struggling Boston Red Sox can ill afford another injury but second baseman Dustin Pedroia, the team’s heart and soul, seems likely to land on the disabled list with a a torn abductor muscle in his right thumb.
That same injury caused Kevin Youkilis to miss the last 56 games of the 2010 season, but Pedroia is hoping he won’t even have to go on the disabled list. He has been fitted with a splint and is going to try to play through the injury, but he’ll be placed on the disabled list for 3-4 weeks if he can’t.
As of now, Pedroia said, the doctors who have looked at the injury do not think surgery will be necessary. Treatment, rest and some sort of brace are on tap right now, and the second baseman is hoping to be back in action in a few days.
“His mind right now is probably on the side of playing,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Tuesday night. “I’m going to give it another day, or even two, to see how it feels.”
The big dilemma is whether to allow Pedroia to keep playing and risk further injury or shut him down for two weeks and then re-evaluate.
The injury first occurred about three weeks ago and was aggravated in his fourth-inning at-bat Monday, a popup to second base. Pedroia is hitting .295 with 5 homers and 21 RBIs. Until Tuesday night, Pedroia had started every game. That distinction belongs solely to Adrian Gonzalez now.
The thumb injury helps explain Pedroia’s recent offensive slump. His average peaked at .321 on May 11, not quite three weeks ago. Since then, Pedroia is 14 for 60 (.233) to fall to .295. More telling — he has just two extra-base hits, both doubles, during the skid.
“I’m optimistic,’’ Pedroia said. “We’re still talking about it and if the swelling and stuff goes down, I won’t miss that much time.’’
When asked if he could further damage it if he played through, Pedroia said, “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I just want to be here for the guys. If I can protect it when I hit, we’ll be all right. Hopefully, I heal quick and I can get back out there as soon as I can. My ligaments and tendons are fine. It’s the only muscle in the thumb. I have to wait for it to calm down and see if I can hit with a splint or a brace or something. And we’ll go on from there.’’
The Sox disabled list contains 16 names totaling 531 games missed, the most in major league baseball.