Pedroia runs at full speed, could return next week
TORONTO – Boston Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia ran at full speed before Tuesday’s game at Toronto and could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.
Pedroia is expected to work out again Wednesday, including making some cuts when he runs, and run again Thursday before visiting a doctor in Boston on Friday.
“He did great. Today was by far the best day,” manager Terry Francona said. “I’d say he was close to 100 percent speed-wise. There was no limp, there was no favoring it. He had that little burst. It was very exciting.”
If all goes well, Pedroia will play at least two rehab games at Triple-A Pawtucket this weekend, either at second base or designated hitter, and could return to Boston’s lineup for an Aug. 17 game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The 2008 AL MVP fractured his left foot when fouled a ball off his leg during a June 25 loss to San Francisco. Pedroia is batting .292 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs in 73 games this year.
Pedroia said he still feels weakness in the foot but had no problems defensively.
“Ground balls is fine, the only thing that’s tough is running,” he said. “I’ll be smart about it during the game and pick and choose when I need to run.”
This is the first stint on the DL in the big leagues for the 26-year-old Pedroia, who was rewarded by the Red Sox with a $40.5 million, six-year contract before the 2009 season.
“I know the rest of the way is going to be tough but we’re at a point right now where we’re trying to make a run and get in the playoffs,” Pedroia said. “I know I’m not going to be as fast as I was earlier in the year but I’ll make that up in the offseason.”
Pedroia, who ran in spikes for the first time Tuesday, said he will wear extra padding inside his shoes at all times and special protection on the outside of his shoes when he bats.
Catcher Jason Varitek, who broke a bone when he fouled a ball off his right foot on June 30, also ran Tuesday and is about seven to 10 days behind Pedroia, Francona said.
Left-hander Hideki Okajima, out since Aug. 6 with a strained right hamstring, was set to begin a throwing program Tuesday, while outfielder Mike Cameron, who has not played since July 30 with a torn abdominal muscle, took batting practice before the game.
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