Dustin Pedroia set for surgery

Updated: October 4, 2012, 12:07 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

NEW YORK -- With the 2012 season officially done for the Boston Red Sox, the physical, mental and emotional healing can began.

From a physical standpoint, numerous Red Sox players are hurting. For starters, Dustin Pedroia and Daniel Nava will need surgery this offseason.

Pedroia will have surgery Tuesday to repair torn cartilage in his right pinky finger, an injury he suffered earlier this season but has played through this year. Pedroia dealt with a thumb injury in the same hand last season. He also recently broke the ring finger on his left hand.

Nava will have surgery Saturday to remove a cyst from his left wrist.

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has played only once since being placed on the DL with a right Achilles strain July 17. His foot is getting better, and he won't need surgery during the offseason.

"I'm feeling good," Ortiz said. "Things are going the way we expected them to go. I'll be back in activity, probably next month."

Outfielder Ryan Kalish recently was shut down because of recurring shoulder and neck problems. He had surgery on both last winter and spent a good portion of the start of this season on the DL while rehabbing. He believes some rest and relaxation will do him some good this offseason in order to be fully healthy and ready for spring training.

Pitcher John Lackey missed the entire season after having Tommy John surgery. The veteran right-hander is feeling good and will continue his throwing program and expects to be ready for spring training.

"John Lackey worked his tail off to come back from Tommy John surgery," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "He pitched in instructional league and he's going to have a normal offseason. He was certainly pitching hurt last year -- who knows, maybe even before that -- so our hope is we'll see a healthy John Lackey."

Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with a broken right wrist. He's been hitting and says he's going into the offseason feeling like "a real baseball player" and will "be ready for spring training."

Cherington, though, isn't about to use those injuries as excuses for the team's woes this season.

[+] EnlargeBoston Red Sox
Elsa/Getty ImagesIt's been an especially painful year for Dustin Pedroia, Bobby Valentine and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"Injuries were certainly a part of it, but I don't think we're doing our jobs if we blame this season on injuries," Cherington said. "We've got to look a little deeper than that. I need to look first at my decisions, my own decisions last winter and what I did or did not do to help the team more and I've certainly done that. We've got look at the players who are here and guys that can perform better, why they didn't and how can we help them maybe get back to the level they've been at before."

During the season, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine privately complained that the medical staff had too much autonomy. Valentine took issue with the lack of urgency to get injured players back on the field.

"I think there's always more urgency in a manager's mind than the medical staff's mind," Valentine said. "There's often times where a player and a manager will err on the risky side and the medical staff will err on the cautious side. I think there's always some space between the two. I knew I always thought I could play when I shouldn't have."

Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia played a career-high 121 games this season, and he certainly has the bumps, bruises, aches and pains to prove it.

"What I didn't deal with is a shorter list," Saltalamacchia said. "It's a full season and you deal with a lot. You deal with knees, shoulders, back, neck, and I got hit in the head. I mean, it's a full body and the wear and tear, not only on your body but mentally for a full season, as well. Like I said, it's a shorter list of what didn't bother me."

Despite the workload this season, Saltalamacchia said he feels no different than usual at season's end.

"I feel about the same," he said. "Every year, here and there, you might have some different things and I obviously never got hit in the ear before, so that was new. I've had groins, hamstrings, the stuff you play through, fingers and stuff like that. You've got to decide whether it's an injury, or is it just some pain. Thankfully a lot of mine was just some pain that I could play through."

Late during Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Yankees in extra innings, Saltalamacchia tweaked his back running out a ground ball. He was clearly in pain as Valentine and team trainers came out to check on him. Saltalamacchia insisted on remaining in the game, and so he did.

"You're never 100 percent," he said. "I was talking with Derek (Jeter) last night at second and he said the same thing. He said, 'You know what, nobody even realizes it's a health thing and you never feel 100 percent, so you just go out there and do the best you can with what you've got.' If you can't perform then you sit, but if you can still perform you go out there and you play through it."

There was always a certain point during the offseason when former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek knew he was healthy and could start his winter routine.

"When I can walk down the stairs straight," Varitek would always say.

Saltalamacchia said two weeks of not doing anything usually does the trick for him.

"You start to feel normal again," he said. "Usually a month into it is when I start to work out again and you start to get stronger. Once I start working out again I start to feel 100 times better, strong and back to where I need to be."

Nava has been dealing with his wrist injury for the majority of this season and twice spent time on the DL. In fact, he played in 20 of the last 22 games since returning on Sept. 9, and hit safely in 14 of his last 19 starts.

"It's gotten better and good enough to a point where I can play," Nava said. "I really didn't want to finish the season on the DL. I wanted to play and wanted to show people, more or less, you can play when you're not 100 percent. You never play at 100 percent anyways. You see guys like Pedey and Salty grinding through stuff and that's what I wanted to do. It's frustrating to not be able to be out there doing what you know and feeling like you're capable of doing it."

On the Sox's winter wish list: a happy and healthy 2013 season.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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