Pedroia wastes no time before hitting cage

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Dustin Pedroia was on the premises for less than an hour before he stepped into the batting cage for the first time.

Not exactly making up for lost time, though he did say he had to wait a month before a pin was removed from his surgically repaired left thumb.

"The rehab went great, I feel healthy, no restrictions or anything," he said Sunday.

"It feels good to have the hand strength back."

Pedroia tore the ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into first base in the season opener. He said after the season he had contemplated having surgery immediately after the injury until receiving a text message from Jacoby Ellsbury, saying how much the team needed him. He wound up playing 160 games, posting a slash line of .301/.372/.415, though his home runs dropped to nine, the first time since his rookie season of 2007 that he finished below double figures.

But though his slugging percentage dropped, his other numbers were consistent with his career standards, and he had another exceptional season defensively, committing just five errors in 688 chances.

Pedroia said he had a quiet offseason in Arizona. "Kind of chilled out, went home, took time with the family and worked out. Getting ready for next year. It's next year."