ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia didn’t know what to think when he felt something in his surgically-repaired left knee pop during a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
He told manager Alex Cora what happened. Cora heard the word “pop” and immediately feared the worst.
Was this the end of Pedroia’s career?
“The way he reacted that day, I was like, ‘oh, this is it right here,’” Cora said Friday afternoon before the Red Sox’ game with the Rays. “But we got some positive news.”
While in New York this week, Pedroia met with doctors — not the same surgeon who originally operated on his knee, he said — and was told that it’s not a serious issue. Pedroia said he’s hoping to be back after the 10-day minimum on the injured list.
“Yeah I was nervous,” he said. “It was good news. The best I could get…I was a little upset, man. I’ve been through a lot. It’s fun being out there and playing. I shouldn’t be taking swings and feeling that. It was just a weird freak thing. I’m kind of over those freak things. I just want to get out there and play and help us win. Hopefully that’s coming.”
The freak thing this time, Pedroia said, was that his cleat got caught in the dirt as his body torqued on a foul ball, but his knee never torqued, thus the pop sensation he felt.
“More kind of scared me than anything,” he said. “So I saw the doctor yesterday and it could’ve been a couple of things. We’re going to let it calm down for a few days and it should be all right. It just twisted the wrong way. Sometimes the batter’s box is real tacky.”
Pedroia said he’s trying to find a new brace to wear that doesn’t restrict his knee so much and gives him more flexibility when swinging.
This setback is nothing like the one he had last May, when he played just three games and then was finished for the season.
“No it’s not like last year,” he said. “This was just one thing. I just got stuck and torqued on it and my spike didn’t even move. It was just a freak deal. We’ll figure it out.”
The Red Sox will be careful with him as he recovers this time, but feel like the veteran second baseman will back soon.
“Yes it was a relief,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “I really didn’t know what it took place when he left the game and when I went back down he was gone. Nobody had known what had taken place at that point. You get concerned based on as many things as he’s had taken place with him. Then we met with him last night when he got back face to face…You could tell he was relieved. Felt much better. He was irritated but the fear was it could’ve been worse.”
Pedroia was 2-for-20 but only struck out twice, a sign that he was seeing the ball OK but wasn’t making enough quality contact. A minor league rehab assignment hasn’t been ruled out this time around, though the Sox haven’t made that decision yet.
“Now it’s a matter of seeing how he reacts in a week, go through the same trail with the workload, all that,” Cora said. “Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready. When he said something popped in my knee and the way he was in the clubhouse, I was thinking the worst. But we got some good news. We’ll go from there.”
Pedroia couldn’t hide his good mood on Friday but is already desperate to get back in the lineup.
“I know we haven’t played good at all,” he said. “I know everyone says, ‘oh it’s early,’ and all that. But we have to find a way to be good and get back after it. It takes everybody to do that.”