Red Sox

Latest injury update on Red Sox veteran Dustin Pedroia is unsurprising

Latest injury update on Red Sox veteran Dustin Pedroia is unsurprising

The latest injury update on Boston Red Sox veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia is unsurprising.

Pedroia, who continues to deal with a nagging knee injury, will not report to Red Sox spring training on Monday when position players arrive, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke.

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"He's still sore," Roenicke said, according to ESPN's Joon Lee. "The [left] knee is still sore. The setback is still there. He won't be here Monday. He's going to try to evaluate what happens here. He's going to continue to talk to the people in Arizona and [head trainer] Brad [Pearson] to figure out what the next step is and where he goes from it."

Over the past two seasons, Pedroia has appeared in only nine games for Boston -- more specifically just 34 plate appearances -- and suffered what was called a "significant setback" in January.  At this point, he continues to mull over his options with his family and the Red Sox as he tries to determine whether or not to hang up the cleats for good.

The 36-year-old first suffered the knee injury in 2017 after colliding with then Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado at second base. Since then, Pedroia has undergone multiple knee surgeries in an attempt to return to the baseball field -- cartilage restoration procedure (2017), scar tissue removal (2018) and more recently an alternative surgery to a total knee replacement -- and unfortunately, none of that has done him any good.

Through 14 seasons with the Red Sox, Pedroia averaged .299 at the plate with 725 RBIs, 140 home runs and a .805 OPS. He was voted the American League MVP in 2008, and also has won four Gold Glove awards. Unfortunately, Pedroia won't return to the player he once was if he does, in fact, take the field again. However, he can still be effective if given the opportunity to return.

Ex-Red Sox not named Mookie Betts off to lackluster starts across MLB

Ex-Red Sox not named Mookie Betts off to lackluster starts across MLB

Chaim Bloom had no choice but to deal Mookie Betts. The rest of the players he walked away from this winter were of his own volition, however, and on that front, it looks like he made some good calls.

Bloom elected to keep first baseman Mitch Moreland, who has already blasted three homers while slugging .762.

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Here's a quick check-in with the four others who played a regular role in recent years but are now elsewhere. (And Betts, for the record, is hitting .289 with an .880 OPS, though he has missed two games with a finger injury).

David Price

Bloom traded Price to the Dodgers alongside Betts in a salary dump. We won't know if he made the right call until Price returns to action next season, because he became the highest-profile player to opt out of the 2020 season after the pandemic hit.

That decision likely saved the Red Sox the roughly $6 million they owed of his prorated salary this year. Had he remained in Boston, there's no reason to think he still wouldn't have opted out, so the Red Sox were lucky to get something for him first.

Rick Porcello

Hoo boy. The Mets gave Porcello one year and $10 million, and some believed the Red Sox should've ponied up to keep him, figuring his reliability could help patch the holes in a thin rotation. Bloom thought otherwise, and two starts into Porcello's Mets career, it's hard to argue.

Porcello allowed seven runs in two innings in his debut, and wasn't much better in his second start on Friday in Atlanta, allowing four runs in four innings. He's sitting on a 13.50 ERA that would fit perfectly in Boston, unfortunately.

Brock Holt

The fan favorite utility guy languished for most of the winter before agreeing to a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Brewers. Bloom decided to allocate those resources instead to Jose Peraza, who is now the team's starting second baseman.

Holt has barely gotten off the bench in Milwaukee, going 0 for 4 in four appearances. At age 32, his best days are likely behind him. The 26-year-old Peraza has slumped badly since a four-hit debut, but he's a far superior defender at second and short.

Sandy Leon

Outside of a couple of good weeks in 2016, Leon is what he is offensively. Currently, that's a .105 hitter with the Indians.

He effectively traded roles in December with former Cleveland backup Kevin Plawecki, who's off to a 4-for-10 start that helped make two-time All-Star Jonathan Lucroy expendable.

Andrew Benintendi is struggling for Red Sox, and J.D. Martinez can't help him

Andrew Benintendi is struggling for Red Sox, and J.D. Martinez can't help him

Not even J.D. Martinez can save Andrew Benintendi at the moment.

Martinez, the veteran Red Sox DH, is known as the clubhouse swing doctor. He loves breaking down mechanics and offering tips, and preaching the gospel of launch angle helped Mookie Betts become an MVP and Xander Bogaerts a force.

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Changes to both the gameday routine as well as the availability of in-game video have curtailed Martinez's influence, however, which means slumping hitters like Benintendi have one fewer resource when the going gets tough.

"I mean, honestly, years in the past, I probably already would've been able to get in the video room, break his swing down, look at it, do some comparisons," Martinez said after Benintendi struck out with the bases loaded to end Tuesday's 5-1 defeat in Tampa. "It's kind of what I do for most of the guys on the team. Anytime they're going through some stuff, I kind of dedicate some time after the game, before the game, or something, during the game, if I just hit or something like that, I can kind of throw them a bone. As you guys know, we don't have access to any of that stuff anymore. It's kind of everyone on their own. Survivor."

There's no question that Benintendi is mired in a hellacious slump. Tuesday's 0 for 5 dropped him to .069 (2 for 29). He has struck out 12 times and rarely puts the ball in play. After fouling off a pair of good Nick Anderson fastballs in the ninth, Benintendi took a curveball for strike three, starting his walk back to the dugout before he had even officially been rung up.

A year ago, Martinez might've offered real-time advice between innings, but players no longer have access to in-game video, a change necessitated by the Astros and Red Sox stealing signs. He also could've helped well before a game, but players may no longer arrive more than five hours early, and teammates must socially distance amidst the pandemic.

"Guys are struggling and trying to work," Martinez said. "It's tough when you don't know what to work on or what to do, so everyone is feeling for stuff and it's a tough situation. We're only allowed to be here five hours before game time. That doesn't leave a lot of time for guys to go in the cage and grind it out and figure it out with the hitting coach. It's a tough hand. We've got to find a way to make it work, though. I told my guys, anytime they have anything, they know they can come up to me and ask me questions. It's just different. I don't have that time to go in and break down guys' swings and look at guys' stuff and really dive into it."

One of the players struggling most acutely is Benintendi, whose days not only in the leadoff spot, but in the lineup, period, will be in jeopardy if he doesn't start producing.

"Hard to say if he's trying to do too much," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think he's just trying to find his -- I don't want to say his swing, because his swing is actually pretty good. I think he's trying to find his recognition of where that zone is when he does a lot of damage. Then also making sure he lays off the pitches. Usually when he's not going good, he's chasing. He's chasing down, chasing up. If he can narrow those pitches and get them back into the zone where we know he can hit, I think that's more of it than where he is in the lineup."