Newly retired Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia underwent partial knee replacement in December

More than 12 months before announcing his retirement from baseball on Monday after spending 17 years with the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia was preparing for the 2020 regular season.

The longtime second baseman was limited to just six games in 2019 and had undergone a successful left knee joint preservation procedure — his third knee surgery since October 2017 — that August in Colorado.

“Last January, going into [the 2020 season],  I was still working out, still trying to get ready to come back and play. And I woke up one morning and my knee was huge,” Pedroia told reporters via Zoom earlier Monday. “I went and saw the doctors and it looked like an explosion went off in there. So, I was told that I needed to get a partial knee replacement.”

Given the logistics that go into a procedure of that magnitude, it took quite a bit of time for Pedroia — with the Red Sox helping him research which doctor would be best to perform the operation — to set something up.

“By the time that that happened, by the time I was going to have that surgery, the pandemic hit,” the 37-year-old continued. “That set everything back a lot. So, it got to a point where finally surgeries opened back up. And in December, I had a partial knee replacement.”

Pedroia spent the entirety of 2020 (spring training, summer camp, regular season) away from the Red Sox and instead spent time with his family at home in Arizona.

“I’m glad none of you guys got a chance to see me. I wasn’t in a good place,” he said. “I grinded every day just to be able to play with my kids and just live a normal life. My knee was bad, and I’m a young guy.

It took approximately a week after the surgery for Pedroia to be able to walk with no pain in his knee, but he is still dealing with the repercussions from the operation now.

“In December, I had the surgery, and a week later, I could tell that I could walk without pain,” said the four-time All-Star. “I can basically do everything now except run. I can’t run anymore, which is fine. I don’t need to run. Once I had the surgery, nobody has played with a partial knee replacement because of the fear of it breaks and the rest of my life would be severely impacted by it.”

With this in mind, Pedroia’s playing career effectively came to an end, which at the time was frustrating considering the fact that the former American League MVP had put together back-to-back solid campaigns in his age-32 and -33 seasons in 2016 and 2017.

“I think the hardest part was I felt like I was in my prime and understanding how to play the game as I got older,” Pedroia stated. “2016 was one of my best years, and the first month of ’17 I was rolling right along and one play kind of derailed a lot of that and threw all of us in a pattern we were trying to find a way to get out of.”

That one play, of course, would be when former Orioles infielder Manny Machado slid into Pedroia’s left knee during the eighth inning of a game in Baltimore on April 21, 2017.

Pedroia still managed to play 105 games in 2017 despite that play, but offseason surgery that winter all but marked the end of his playing career despite several valiant efforts to return.

“After all of our trainers and doctors and everybody… We saw everybody and we did it together and we heard the news that it wasn’t possible to play with this,” he said. “So, when the cards are stacked against you, I tried — we all tried to do everything possible to continue to play. And I’m proud of that and I’m proud of the way that our trainers helped me and the doctors and everybody.”

As hard as he tried to come back from injury by playing in three games in 2018 and six in 2019, Pedroia reached a point where his body could not keep up any longer, and that came when he underwent partial knee replacement late last year.

“But it wasn’t physically possible for me to continue to play baseball with a partial knee replacement,” said Pedroia. “So once I got that done, I knew. And the team has been great at leading me in the right directions on things to do and how to get better. And just to be better for my everyday life. Because I’m only 37 years old and I’ve got a long way to go.”

(Picture of Dustin Pedroia: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale experienced neck stiffness setback over holidays, has resumed throwing program since then

On the road to recovery from Tommy John surgery, Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale apparently ran into a setback some time within the past month or so, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Per Bradford, “Sale experienced a setback around the holidays due to neck stiffness. The ailment put a halt to the starter’s throwing program, which he has begun participating in again.”

The encouraging aspect of this is that Sale has since resumed his throwing program, though his “workouts now include treatment on the neck issue to prevent the problem from cropping up again,” Bradford writes.

Sale, who turns 32 in March, underwent elbow reconstruction surgery on March 29 last year.

Pitchers typically take anywhere between 12-15 months to recover from said operation, which would put the southpaw on track to return to the mound at some point this summer if all goes accordingly.

“With Chris, we’re still looking at a midsummer return to have him fully stretched out as a starter,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of Sale in November. “But everything continues going along with that. Arm’s doing great, which is awesome.”

Earlier this month, however, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Sox are expected to be “cautious” with Sale’s rehab and that “the pace for his return from Tommy John surgery is expected to be deliberate.”

The seven-time All-Star inked a five-year, $145 million contract extension with Boston shortly before the start of the 2019 campaign, when then-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was at the helm.

Since then, Sale has started just 25 games for the Red Sox, posting a 4.40 ERA and .695 OPS against over 147 1/3 innings pitched before getting shut down due to left elbow inflammation in August 2019, which ultimately led to TJS the following spring.

Under contract through the 2024 season (vesting option for 2025) with the opportunity to opt out after 2022, Sale is slated to earn $30 million in 2021. That dollar figure translates to $25.6 million for luxury tax purposes.

As noted by Bradford, the Florida native was expected to begin throwing off a mound sometime this month, though it appears the neck stiffness he dealt with and is getting treatment on threw a wrench in those plans.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox expected ‘to take a conservative approach’ in Chris Sale’s return from Tommy John surgery, per report

Even though left-hander Chris Sale is slated to throw off a mound later this month for the first since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, the Red Sox could be taking things slow with the starting pitcher’s rehab, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Sale, who turns 32 in March, last pitched in a big-league game on August 13, 2019.

The Florida native signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension — which includes an opt-out after 2022 and a vesting option for 2025 — with Boston shortly before the start of the 2019 season.

Because of the money they have invested in him, the Red Sox, writes Olney, “would love for Sale to come back and be a factor at some point in 2021, [but are more] apt to take a conservative approach.”

Put another way, “the pace for [Sale’s] return from Tommy John surgery is expected to be deliberate, according to sources.”

As Olney notes, pitchers typically take anywhere from 12 to 15 months to recover from the elbow reconstruction that is Tommy John surgery.

With that time frame in mind, Sale, in theory, could be on track for a June or July return to the mound this coming season, especially given the hurler’s drive.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said as much when speaking with reporters back in November.

“With Chris, we’re still looking at a midsummer return to have him fully stretched out as a starter,” said Bloom. “But everything continues going along with that. Arm’s doing great, which is awesome.”

While Sale’s arm may be “doing great” at the moment, there is a legitimate possibility that the Red Sox would not want to rush the seven-time All-Star back too soon given the fact he is still under contract for at least two more seasons, and likely more.

“Both the team and the pitcher have reason to take a long view on his recovery,” Olney wrote earlier Monday. “The bulk of the left-hander’s production for the Red Sox will happen in the last three years of the deal.”

Per Spotrac, Sale is set to earn $30 million in 2021 as well as $30 million in 2022, $27.5 million in 2023, and another $27.5 million in 2024. Good for a hefty sum of $85 million over the final three years of his contract. He has a full no-trade clause included in there as well.

Taking the idea that Sale’s time table could be pushed back further than initially expected, Boston may need to do even more to address their starting rotation needs between now and the start of the 2021 season.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora touched upon this issue when appearing on MLB Network Radio over the weekend.

“I think being deeper means the world this year,” said Cora. “You come from a short season and all of a sudden you’re asking these guys to perform at the high levels for a lot of innings. So you’ve gotta be careful. So we’re trying to do that and at the same time, compete at the highest level on a daily basis.”

Last year, Boston starters put up the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.34) while finishing second-to-last in innings pitched (246). As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, “that’s a 162-game pace of just 664.2 innings.”

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia’s Red Sox career could be nearing its conclusion

Dustin Pedroia’s time on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster could be coming to an end relatively soon.

The 37-year-old second baseman was activated from the 60-day injured list along with five others late last month, which brought Boston’s 40-man roster up to 37 players.

Clubs have until this coming Friday, November 20, to protect Rule 5-eiligible minor-leaguers from this year’s Rule 5 Draft, or in other words, add them to their 40-man roster.

As currently constructed, the Sox have three open slots on their 40-man with upwards of 50 prospects in need of Rule-5 protection. Obviously, the math does not check out here, and the majority of those 50-plus minor-leaguers will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft come December.

There are however a select handful of Red Sox prospects who will need to be protected, as they are regarded as some of the more promising young players in the club’s minor-league pipeline.

Left-hander Jay Groome, right-hander Bryan Mata, infielder Hudson Potts, outfielder Jeisson Rosario, right-hander Connor Seabold, and catcher Connor Wong are the six key prospects in this scenario.

Groome and Mata, both of whom signed with the Red Sox in 2016, are regarded by MLB Pipeline as the top two active pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system.

The other four — Potts, Rosario, Seabold, and Wong — have all been acquired by the Sox via trade(s) within the last 12 months, so it’s highly unlikely the club would want to risk losing any of them.

There could be other, lesser-known minor-leaguers the Sox consider worthy of a 40-man roster spot, as was the case with lefty Kyle Hart last year. But, for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume that the Red Sox have six players they would like to add to the 40-man with only three vacancies to work with.

This means that, in some capacity, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will presumably look to reshuffle his team’s 40-man roster between now and Friday.

Players who are currently on the 40-man could either get traded, designated, or outrighted within the next five days, but those same players could also help another team if they wind up in the right situation.

There is plenty of risk involved in this process, but there is one route Bloom and Co. could take that could help mitigate that risk just a little bit. That being, take Pedroia, among others off the 40-man roster.

The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported last month that Pedroia and the Red Sox “are prepared to talk soon about a mutual understanding that would end his playing career.”

Though WEEI’s Rob Bradford later added on to that report by stating that “nothing” had yet to have been discussed between the two sides, a mutual agreement of some sorts here certainly makes sense from the Red Sox’ point of view.

Pedroia, a former MVP, has played in just nine total games over the last three seasons on account of issues with his left knee. He’s undergone three knee surgeries since 2017.

As he enters the final year of the eight-year, $110 million contract extension he signed with Boston back in 2013, it appears that the former second-round draft pick will be unable to play in 2021, or again, on account of how inactive he has been recently.

With that in mind, the Sox may look to reach some sort of settlement with Pedroia so that they can get out from some of the $12 million they owe him next year while also freeing up a 40-man roster spot for someone who can consistently contribute.

This is not exactly a fun scenario to consider, as Pedroia has proven to be one of the Red Sox’ undisputed leaders and all-time greats in his 15 or so years with the club, but it may be time to move on and have the four-time Gold Glover transition to a front office or coaching role within the organization, if possible.

Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran addressed this very issue in September, and he emphasized the notion that Pedroia will have a say in what the future holds for him as a Red Sox.

“I don’t think that any one particular roster spot is something I would focus on as a problem and certainly not when it’s Dustin Pedroia,” O’Halloran said. “We’re going to talk to Dustin and he’s obviously going to have the most say in where things go from here. No. 1 is making sure he’s as healthy as he can be for the rest of his life, really. And certainly we want to talk to him and see how he’s feeling and see where he wants to go from here.”

In short, Friday’s Rule 5 deadline will serve as a key indicator for where the Red Sox currently stand with Pedroia and the four-time All-Star’s status moving forward.

Other players are likely to get moved around, too, but Pedroia is without a doubt the most significant figure whose spot on Boston’s 40-man roster could be in jeopardy. We will have to wait and see what Bloom and Co. have in store.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale on Handling Criticism: ‘I’ve Never Paid Attention to What People Say About Me, Because It Doesn’t Matter’

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale underwent successful Tommy John surgery seven weeks ago.

Before Tuesday, the 31-year-old had only spoken to the media once since undergoing the procedure in Los Angeles, but he spoke with ESPN’s Mary Rivera in an extensive one-on-one, presumably over-phone interview earlier this week.

Topics covered in said interview included Sale’s recovery from Tommy John, criticism from fans over his contract, the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts and David Price, thoughts on a disappointing 2019 season, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in 2017, and Alex Cora’s departure from Boston.

You can read Rivera’s conversation with Sale in full here, but I wanted to hit on a few highlights, starting with the Florida native being asked if it’s “hard to handle the criticism” from people who believe he has not lived up to expectations under his new contract.

“When I got to Boston, my first year was really good,” Sale said. “My second season was decent but I ran into some shoulder issues. We ended up winning a World Series, so I’d even call that a relatively good season with a little hiccup. Then, 2019 was an absolute disaster. But in the end, I’ve never paid attention to what people say about me, because it doesn’t matter.”

Prior to the start of the 2019 season, Sale inked a five-year, $145 million contract extension with the Red Sox while Dave Dombrowski still served as the club’s president of baseball operations.

Dombrowski has since been removed from that post and was effectively replaced by former Rays executive and current chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, whose first major move at the helm in Boston was dealing Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in February.

That sort of transaction, which significantly hindered the Red Sox’ chances of winning in 2020, could have upset a veteran like Sale, whose first priority is to win no matter who he plays for, but he did not seem to take too much offense to it.

“Very rarely in this day and age, you get to play with the same team for a long time,” Sale told Rivera. “We have to adapt and go with it. We don’t make decisions; we don’t trade players. We show up to spring training and we do our best to win with the players we have.”

At the time Betts and Price were dealt to Los Angeles, the 2020 MLB season really wasn’t in question. That has obviously changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though, and Sale isn’t too sure there will even be a season at all. Not like that matters much for him anyway since he is still recovering from Tommy John.

It still is a concerning matter for players who can play this year though, and Sale certainly feels for them while the MLBPA remains in active negotiations with the league.

“There’s too many moving parts with all this right now,” he said in regard to getting baseball back this year. “There’s obviously negotiations between the players and the owners, and that’s what I hope we can iron out sooner rather than later. On my end of it, I’m not missing any games that everyone else isn’t missing. Plus, I’m not getting paid, so no one can call me an overpaid asshole right now [laughs].”

For the time being, Sale will continue the process of coming back from Tommy John surgery. He’s been one of the few players to work out at Fenway South in Fort Myers since the complex opened back up earlier in the month.

“I’ve been doing a shoulder program and we’re doing soft-tissue stuff but I’m starting to get into some pushing stuff, some rows,” Sale said of the rehab process. “A lot of this actually is a lot of shoulder work too, which is good.

“We can kind of start, as they say, tearing it down to the studs. I can work from the ground up. I can completely tear my body down and build it back up. Right now, since I’m not really working out to achieve anything, I can really focus on the little fine details that sometimes might be overlooked getting ready for a big, bulky season. I love the guys I’m working with and I know I’m in good hands.”

If all goes according to plan, Sale should be able to return to a big league mound sometime in June or July 2021.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale Speaks on Tommy John Surgery for First Time Since Undergoing Procedure Last Month

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery late last month.

Speaking via a conference call with several reporters, the 31-year-old said that he’s “really happy” with where he’s at right now and he’ll get his cast taken off sometime on Thursday.

From there, Sale said that he will “probably” begin the rehab process at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, but if worst comes to worst in regards to the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, he could start working out again at his own house in nearby Naples.

“We could have done this six months ago,” Sale said in regards to the procedure. “But I’m okay with that. I didn’t want to jump the gun, I wanted to make sure this was something that needed to be done.”

After being shut down last August due to inflammation in his left elbow, Sale was eventually given the go-ahead to begin throwing again right around Thanksgiving.

Heading into the start of spring training, Sale was completely healthy outside of a bout of pneumonia he dealt with earlier in the year.

“I truly thought I was in the clear,” the hurler said. “I had all the confidence in the world coming into spring training that my arm was going to be as good, if not better, than it was my entire career.”

That turned out not to be the case though, as Sale experienced soreness in his left elbow in early March, shortly after he faced live hitters for the first time since before he was shut down last August.

Later diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain, Sale was prescribed a two-week period of rest and did not begin throwing again until the middle of March.

Even after that period of rest, Sale again experienced discomfort in his left elbow while throwing and that’s ultimately how the decision for the Florida native to undergo Tommy John was reached.

“It was a punch to the gut,” he said. “It was tough to let my teammates down.”

As tough as it may have been, Sale did say that he “sleep[s] easier knowing we did everything we could. We turned over every stone.”

Sale’s rotation-mate Nathan Eovaldi has undergone Tommy John surgery twice in his career. When seeking advice from Eovaldi, Sale was advised to “set little goals” for himself and to not look at the recovery process as a year-long endeavor, but instead focus on two weeks at a time.

“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Sale said. “Well, I guess I have a chip in my elbow, too.”

The typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually 14-15 months, so we probably won’t see Sale on a big league mound again until June 2021 at the earliest.

On a positive note, Sale did say that he throws a “mean” right-handed cutter with a wiffle ball to his sons, so that’s pretty neat.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale Undergoes Successful Tommy John Surgery in Los Angeles

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale has undergone successful Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, industry sources have told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

The typical recovery time from this procedure is anywhere between 14 to 15 months, so Sale will likely be out of commission until sometime around June 2021 at the earliest.

The Red Sox announced that Sale, who turned 31 on Monday, would undergo Tommy John surgery on March 19th, six days after he began throwing again and felt more discomfort in his left elbow following a brief session outside that following Tuesday.

Per Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, Sale had experienced enough pain then to shut things down once more, and “the decision after that became clear.”

Since the club announced that the Florida native would be undergoing Tommy John, things had been relatively quiet surrounding the matter before Monday. That is mostly due to the fact that many states have put limitations on elective procedures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting healthcare facilities across the country.

As Speier notes in the attached article above, “Among the doctors who have stopped performing Tommy John procedures in response to the pandemic is Dr. James Andrews. An Andrews Institute spokesperson said on Monday that the institute had suspended elective procedures, including Tommy John.”

The Red Sox themselves just announced via Twitter that Sale’s procedure to repair his left UCL was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, CA, so there’s that.

Entering the first year of the five-year, $145 million extension he signed with Boston last March, Sale is set to earn approximately $30 million in 2020.

Red Sox’ Chris Sale Has Flexor Strain

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale has a flexor tendon strain in his left elbow, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke.

This news comes one day after Sale received a third opinion from Dr. Neil ElAttrache, after already getting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, in regard to the MRI of his sore left elbow.

Since his Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) was “unchanged”, Sale has at least avoided surgery for the time being, as it was not recommended by either doctor. Instead, he has been prescribed rest and will not throw again for another week or so.

After that period of rest, Sale will begin throwing again and will need to be pain free while doing so. If he does still feel the same pain in his left elbow he experienced last year, then it might be time to assume the worst-case scenario.

“It sucks,” Sale said Thursday. “I know what I’m worth to this team and I don’t want to do anything stupid.”

The soon-to-be 31-year-old was already set to miss about the first two weeks of the 2020 season due to an earlier bout with pneumonia, but this setback will surely push his return date back even further depending on how things go at the end of next week.

This all comes as Sale enters the first year of the five-year, $145 million extension he signed with Boston last March. He will earn $25.6 million in 2020.

 

Red Sox Waiting for Another Opinion on Chris Sale’s Sore Left Elbow

One day after it was revealed that left-hander Chris Sale was dealing with soreness in his left elbow and an MRI had been sent to elbow specialist Dr. James Andrews, the Red Sox are now seeking a third opinion from another specialist in Dr. Neil ElAttrache, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke.

Sale reported the elbow soreness to the team’s medical staff on Monday, one day after throwing 15 pitches while facing live hitters for the first time since last August.

At that time, he was diagnosed with inflammation in his left elbow and received a platelet-rich plasma injection from Dr. Andrews that same month before eventually being shut down for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.

The Florida native was cleared to begin throwing again in late November, though, and outside of a bout with pneumonia, he seemed completely healthy otherwise headed into the spring. But now, it appears that his 2020 season could be in jeopardy.

Roenicke did say to not assume the worst-case scenario with Sale until the Red Sox have gathered all the necessary information, and he emphasized how they “want to get this right.”

Still, as The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham notes, “teams usually don’t get a third opinion to confirm good news. Getting opinions from Andrews and ElAttrache certainly suggests there’s a significant injury.”

According to Roenicke, the Red Sox should have word from Dr. ElAttrache within “the next day or so.

Until then, stay tuned for more updates.

Red Sox’ David Price to Undergo Minor Surgery on Left Wrist in Boston on Thursday

Four days after it was announced that he had been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season this past Wednesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced on Sunday that left-hander David Price will undergo “simple” minor surgery on his left wrist this coming Thursday in Boston.

Per Cora, the procedure will involve removing a TFCC cyst from Price’s pitching wrist, one that has kept the 34-year-old sidelined since September 2nd.

That cyst was discovered back in August, when Price underwent an MRI after experiencing tightness and discomfort in the aforementioned area.

With this operation, Price is expected to be ready for spring training next year, as it will allow him to go through regular offseason preparations.

“We just want to get it over and for him to start the offseason, quote-unquote, the right way,” Cora said before the Sox faced the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. “He has a week or whatever to start taking care of himself and start doing what he needs.”

In 22 starts before being shut down this season, Price posted a 4.28 ERA and 3.63 FIP over 107 1/3 innings pitched. The Red Sox went 10-12 in his starts,

Now four years into the seven-year, $217 million deal he inked back in December of 2015, the Tennessee native has three years and $96 million remaining on his deal.