Dustin Pedroia makes brief, but important preseason debut

Dustin Pedroia makes brief, but important preseason debut

The first spring appearance for a man who's been a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and Rookie of the Year and MVP should be nothing out of the ordinary. However, for Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, the excitement was comparable to that of a rookie as opposed to a 13-year veteran.

Pedroia hadn't set foot on the field in a game situation since May of last year and even though his debut against the Twins lasted all of one inning, he couldn't have been more pleased. Pedroia fielded a ground ball off the bat of Jake Cave, followed by a single in his familiar leadoff spot off Kohl Stewart in the bottom of the inning.

Knee problems began for Pedroia when Manny Machado's spikes caught Pedroia's knee in a takeout slide nearly two years ago on April 21, 2017. Knee inflammation landed Pedroia on the disabled list twice.  All told, he was on the disabled listed three times and played in only 105 games. Left knee surgery was performed in late October of 2017.

Attempting to return from surgery last season, Pedroia struggled to stay on the field. In fact, after five rehabilitation games at Triple-A and three games with the Red Sox in late May, he was shelved for the rest of the season. Pedroia's 2018 campaign ended with just one hit in 12 at-bats.

Facing perhaps a crossroads in his career, the 35-year old Pedroia is listed first on the depth chart at second base. One might wonder how much he has left in the tank after missing nearly a season and a half worth of games over the past two years. However, in his last full season in 2016, Pedroia hit .318 with 15 home runs and 74 RBI. He also hit a solid .292 with 63 RBI in 2017.

While his MVP days are likely behind him, Pedroia can prove he has a significant amount of baseball left. For now, he looks to build upon his first outing, taking each inning, each pitch and each game at a time.

Pedroia is a career .300 hitter with 1803 hits, 394 doubles and 140 home runs.