After hitting a league-leading .346 with 32 home runs and 80 RBI, Mookie Betts might not even be the Red Sox leadoff hitter on Opening Day next season. Alex Cora has someone else in mind: Dustin Pedroia.
Wait, what? The same Pedroia who only played in three games this season? That's the one... assuming he's healthy by then.
"If he's ready to go, I think that's the only game he's going to lead off next year. He'll lead off Opening Day," Cora said. "I told him that a few months ago because he deserves it. So Mookie won't lead off one game next year. That's the goal."
Pedroia hasn't fully recovered from cartilage restoration and arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, and the Sox still don't know if he'll be ready to go for next season.
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"We need to find exactly what Pedey's situation is at second base," said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "I think that's something that will be a focus for us now. I mean, we have talked about it, but how does he continue to progress? We're hopeful he'll be ready, but I don't really know at this time."
Even though Pedroia couldn't contribute on the field during the Sox championship run, Cora still gave him credit for his off-the-field impact down the stretch.
“Actually, to win it without him, it was tough enough,” Cora said. “But like I told him, ‘you’re going to impact this team regardless, on the field or off the field.’ What he did in the clubhouse was amazing. In the dugout, he was still the same guy showing up a half hour before the game in the dugout. We'll see how it goes. I still expect him to contribute (in 2019)."
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