Even before he tweaked his left leg and left Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians in the eighth inning, Pedroia was told by Boston's manager that he would be getting a well-deserved night off.
"He showed up pretty early, came to the park to get some treatment on it," Francona said. "He's just a little sore. I think he's a little relieved, too, as we all are."
Pedroia slipped in the rain, felt a sharp pain in his left leg, and left the game. Afterwards, he said he wasn't concerned that he had done any damage to his left leg, which had a screw inserted during surgery last September. He said the problem Monday was a nerve that gave him a stinger similar to what football players encounter.
Pedroia was limited to 75 games a year ago after fracturing a bone in his foot in June. He played in 46 of Boston's first 47 games this year, and while he's been struggling at the plate of late, he's been steady as usual in the field.
The sure-handed second baseman wasn't out of Monday night's game for five minutes before his defensive presence was missed. Pedroia's replacement, Drew Sutton, could not quite reach a ball hit to his left by Cleveland's Jack Hannahan that went for a single. The hit sparked the Indians' winning two-run rally.
"Nothing against Sutton, but [Pedroia] gets that ball," Francona said.
Francona marveled at Pedroia's work ethic even when not in the lineup. He noted that the veteran has been diligent about taking care of himself all season in an effort to stay strong.
"He's like a champ," he said. "It's what he does. He's not a big training room guy, but he's been in there every day, doing what he needs to do to get ready."
Chuck Murr is a contributor for ESPNBoston.com.