Dustin Pedroia sits as precaution
BOSTON -- Though he was kept out of Wednesday's lineup as a precaution, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said his right thumb feels fine and he plans to be back in action for the series finale against the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
Pedroia left Tuesday's series opener after his at-bat in the seventh inning. After popping up on an inside pitch, he was seen shaking his right hand; he disappeared into the tunnel to the clubhouse and was not around to speak with reporters after the game.
"I'm all right. I think it scared me more than anything," Pedroia said after some light infield practice at Fenway Park on Wednesday. "My hand slipped off the bat and my thumb got caught. Just kind of a weird feeling. I'm not playing today. I'll be in there tomorrow, though. I feel fine."
I'm all right. I think it scared me more than anything. My hand slipped off the bat and my thumb got caught. Just kind of a weird feeling.” -- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia
Nick Punto started at second base in Pedroia's place on Wednesday.
"There's no swelling or anything like that," Pedroia said before the Sox beat the Marlins, 15-5. "It's kind of a weird deal. I went to swing. I don't know if it got a little hot or humid, I didn't have enough pine tar on my bat. My thumb just got caught in a weird spot. ... (Manager Bobby Valentine) talked to me and said, 'I think it's smart to take a day and do some treatment.' I'm available if needed (off the bench), whatever the team needs."
Pedroia is batting .269 with five home runs in 61 games but is hitting just .170 (9 for 53) with 10 strikeouts in June.
"Dustin feels good today," Valentine said. "The medical staff feels it was more a scare than it was a real serious injury. In true Dustin fashion said he didn't want to let his teammates down and wanted to play tonight. We are going to give it a day to make sure it settles in, and make sure we know what we are dealing with. There's nothing like the spirit and talent of Dustin Pedroia, there is no doubt about that."
Pedroia has been wearing a guard around his right thumb since suffering a partially torn adductor muscle that forced him to miss six games. He is batting .170 in 13 games since his return June 5, though he is 3 for 8 with two doubles in his past two games.
One of those doubles came in his first at-bat in Boston's 7-5 win Tuesday. He fouled out to first in the seventh and was replaced at second base by Punto to begin the eighth.
Valentine said he thought that Pedroia's thumb "probably" has negatively impacted his performance at the plate.
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"It's hard to quantify, but probably," Valentine said. "But like you said the other day when (Jon) Lester was pitching and he makes that play in the first inning and turns a double play on the line drive. He is out there helping the team win a game. He's not having the 'laser show' every night but he's an amazing presence on our team."
Pedroia was able to take infield Wednesday with fellow Arizona State product and Red Sox top draft pick Deven Marrero, who fielded ground balls alongside Pedroia, Punto and Mike Aviles on Wednesday. Marrero was at Fenway with agent Scott Boras finalizing his contract with the organization.
"He's great. He's great," Pedroia said of Marrero. "I've seen him the last few years at ASU. He's a great player. He's young. He's an exciting player. It's pretty cool to see him in uniform."
Marrero was taken 24th overall in this month's first-year player draft. He will be assigned to the Single-A Lowell Spinners.
A pair of Red Sox also continue to work their way back from injuries.
Outfielder Carl Crawford is on his way to Fort Myers, Fla., where he will continue his rehab in hopes of beginning a minor league rehab assignment soon.
Crawford has been on the disabled list all season after having wrist surgery in January and then suffering an elbow strain during spring training. He's been hitting, running and throwing for the last couple of weeks and he said he's feeling good.
"He said he felt great," Valentine. "He said his elbow felt great, his body felt great and he's ready to get going."
When that rehab assignment will officially begin depends on how he progresses at the club's spring training facility in Fort Myers.
Closer Andrew Bailey also is on the verge of a rehab assignment. The right-hander has been on the DL all season -- his first in Boston -- after having surgery on his thumb during spring training. He was set to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.
In other news, pitcher Daniel Bard continues to hone his skills out of the bullpen with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Making his first appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket in a save situation Wednesday, Bard allowed two runs, both on wild pitches, to blow a save in the ninth inning. The PawSox went on to lose 6-5 in 11 innings.
The right-hander's previous outing was June 14, when he tossed two scoreless innings and struck out four batters against Buffalo. Prior to Wednesday's debacle, Boston manager Bobby Valentine said the idea of having Bard pitch out of the bullpen for the PawSox was working.
"It's been productive, yeah," Valentine said. "It's moving in the right direction.
"We're going to try to get him in a game without saying how long he's going to pitch or what inning it's going to be. We start to get him into real game situations."
That's exactly what happened Wednesday, when Bard entered a game in the middle of an inning for the first time. Previously, he had started one game and made four relief appearances at the beginning of an inning for the PawSox.
Bard was optioned to Pawtucket on June 7 after posting a 5-6 record with a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts for the Red Sox this season, his first as a starter.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald was used in this report.