Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia can comprehend why the Boston Red Sox are placing him on the injury list to start the season.

But that doesn't mean he has to agree with it.

Shortly after Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Monday that Pedroia won't be on the Opening Day roster as he rehabs a knee injury, the second baseman offered his side of the story.

"It is what it is. I didn’t really think about it. I think the whole thing, I don’t think the team was expecting me to come in and look the way I looked," Pedroia told reporters Monday in Fort Myers, via WEEI.com. "They just want to make sure they do it right. That’s basically it."

Pedroia appeared in just three games last season after undergoing cartilage restoration knee surgery in October 2017. The Red Sox have played it safe with the 35-year-old this spring, limiting him to four Grapefruit League games and five or fewer innings in each of those contests.

Pedroia may argue the club is being a little too cautious.

"They have had to hold me back. I’m ready for Opening Day. It’s just they’re scared," Pedroia added.

"No one has ever come back from something like this. They want me to make sure I follow the right steps to do that and make sure everyone is 100 percent confident that when I come back, I come back and stay back and not have any issues.

"... I feel like I’m ready. It’s just they just want to see how my knee responds when I do that, which I understand. We’ll just go from there. It’s only, I think, a week or something, the plan that they set. If it’s being smart for a week and we make sure I respond great to everything thrown at me then it’s a good decision."

Boston has the luxury of not rushing Pedroia, as Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez can split time at second base in his absence. Whether the 14-year veteran still has good baseball in him remains to be seen, but he at least wants a chance to prove himself as soon as possible.

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Highlights from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the Tigers

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Highlights from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the Tigers

FINAL SCORE: Red Sox 7, Tigers 3

IN BRIEF: The Red Sox split their series with the Tigers with a 7-3 victory on Thursday night. Rick Porcello earned his first quality start of the season, and Mookie Betts stayed hot with two doubles.

BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 11-15

HIGHLIGHTS:

2nd inning

Michael Chavis two-run home run (2-0 BOS)

3rd inning

Jeimer Candelario RBI single (2-1 BOS)

Nicholas Castellanos two-run home run (3-2 DET)

J.D. Martinez RBI single (3-3)

Rafael Devers two-run double (5-3 BOS)

Mookie Betts RBI double (6-3 BOS)

6th inning

Andrew Benintendi RBI double (7-3 BOS)

UP NEXT:
vs. Rays, Friday, 7:10 p.m. NESN
vs. Rays, Saturday, 4:05 p.m., NESN
vs. Rays, Sunday, 1:05 p.m., NESN

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'I got emotional' - Darwinzon Hernandez, Eduardo Rodriguez describe what it's like to face childhood idol Miguel Cabrera

'I got emotional' - Darwinzon Hernandez, Eduardo Rodriguez describe what it's like to face childhood idol Miguel Cabrera

BOSTON -- It's a rite of passage for major league pitchers from Venezuela, and on consecutive nights, Darwinzon Hernandez and Eduardo Rodriguez lived it -- facing future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.

The South American nation of 32 million has produced about 400 big leaguers since right-hander Alex Carrasquel debuted in 1939, and none of them is as famous or accomplished as Cabrera.

The 11-time All-Star, two-time MVP, and 2012 Triple Crown winner is in his 17th season, and he long ago achieved legendary status in his home country. So, when Hernandez, 22, debuted in the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday, there was one batter he wanted to face more than anyone.

"I got emotional," Hernandez admitted.

As Cabrera stepped into the box, Hernandez had to gather himself. A week earlier he had been facing Double-A hitters. Now, he was staring down his idol. He fought the butterflies long enough to work the count full before issuing a walk.

E-Rod can identify. He experienced those same butterflies the first time he faced Cabrera in 2016. Cabrera reached three times on a pair of singles and an intentional walk. They've since become friends who work out together in Miami in the offseason, and Rodriguez has limited him to just one hit over their last three matchups.

"He's been my friend since I got to the big leagues," Rodriguez said. "I think you guys have seen it, every time I face him, we joke with each other, things like that, he'll say he's going to hit the ball out of the ballpark every time against me, I tell him I'm going to strike you out all the time. It's a good relationship we have.

"He's a legend from my country. It's special every time I face him because he's a future Hall of Famer. I've had a good relationship with him, and to have that kind of respect that we have for each other, and especially myself for him, this is something we do all the time. I just thank God he hasn't hit a homer yet, because it will be really crazy when he hits it."

Cabrera is used to it. He's known throughout baseball as being particularly giving to his countrymen, and most of them admit being in awe before facing him.

"Intimidated? No. I don't believe that," Cabrera said before Thursday's series finale vs. the Red Sox. "When you put on a uniform, it doesn't matter how old you are. You're in the big leagues for a reason. It doesn't matter how old or young you are. You put a uniform on and you go out there and compete.

"It's different outside of baseball, because when you're on the field, you don't have time to think about that. That's more about being a fan because they don't have a chance to go out there and compete. You see a person in real life and you say, whoa. But when you work in the same place and you step to the big leagues, there's no chance to think like, 'Wow, I'm here.' Now it's time to work. It's a distraction. You don't need a distraction on a baseball field."

Cabrera said he had never heard of Hernandez before facing him, though the young left-hander said they've met. In any event, he was gracious when told how much the at-bat meant to the youngster.

"That's nice to hear," Cabrera said. "He has good stuff."

Hernandez is back in the minors, but if and when he establishes himself as a big leaguer, he should expect to end up in Cabrera's orbit.

"That's the way I am," Cabrera said. "I try to help my teammates, the people I know, the people around me, be a better person, be a better baseball player and that's it."

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