For the first time since May 29th of last year, Dustin Pedroia is ready to get into a baseball game, as he’ll bat leadoff and man second for the Red Sox Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park.
The 35-year-old infielder had a solid week of workouts, including a “milestone day” on Monday in which he launched a ball over the center field wall while taking batting practice in the backfields at Fenway South.
When asked about the homer, Pedroia responded, “I was surprised by that. I haven’t hit a home run to center field in batting practice in my life.”
So far this spring, the California native has been preparing like he’s getting ready for just another season.
“I don’t want to get too excited,” Pedroia said. I’m just sticking to the plan and trying to get better every day.”
When it was announced by Pedroia himself that the plan is for him to get into at least one game this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn’t seem too thrilled to start his infielder on Thursday while the national media is covering the club, but here we are.
“It will be cool for him. He’s been in full uniform since, like, 7 o’clock,” Cora said about Pedroia Thursday morning.
The arrangement for Pedroia today specifically is to get one at-bat, play the first two innings at second, and run around a little.
First pitch against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET on ESPN.
Happy Dustin Pedroia Day.