Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made his first ever start for the Class A Greenville Drive on Thursday as part of his rehab assignment after beginning the 2019 season on the 10-day injured list.
Batting second and manning second base per usual, the 35-year-old veteran went 2/3 at the plate with a fourth inning single, a sixth inning walk, and an eighth inning double.
On the field, the four-time Gold Glove Award winner turned a 6-4-3 double play in the fifth inning.
Playing all nine innings in front of a record crowd of 7,551 for Greenville’s home opener at Fluor Field, Pedroia had nothing but positive things to say about his experience playing down in South Carolina.
“It was fun,” Pedroia said following the Drive’s 1-0 loss to the West Virginia Power, a minor league affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. “This is a great atmosphere here. I mean these guys are lucky. The stadium is unbelievable. The fans are great. The playing surface is awesome. You couldn’t ask for more out of a minor league affiliate. This is a pretty special place for these guys, so it was a great experience to be out there.”
Pedroia is slated to play another nine innings Friday before getting the day off on Saturday, then doing it all again on Sunday in what could be his last rehab appearance before being activated from the injured list ahead of the Red Sox’ own home opener on Tuesday.
“That would mean a lot,” Pedroia said. “That would be pretty cool.”
In the past two seasons, Pedroia has only managed to play in 108 out of a possible 324 regular season games with Boston due to different injuries.
Eight games into the 2019 campaign, Red Sox second baseman rank 27th out of 30th in OPS from the second base position. Not great.
When he does finally make his return to the big league club, perhaps a healthy Pedroia can provide the Red Sox with a spark they need to get back to winning baseball.