Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Updated: December 2, 2:00 PM ET
Pedroia wants to switch to SS
Faced with a vacancy at shortstop following the departure of Alex Gonzalez via free agency, the Red Sox are thinking outside the box.
The team has asked second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who won the AL MVP Award in 2008, if he could play shortstop for the team if needed next season.
"They've asked me if I think I could play shortstop," Pedroia told ESPN's Peter Gammons. "They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, 'Can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it."
Pedroia was an All-American shortstop at Arizona State, and takes ground balls at the position during the season. The staff has thrown it out to him, realizing that it might be easier to sign or acquire an everyday, defensive second baseman than a shortstop.
There is some hesitation from the Red Sox about signing free agent Marco Scutaro, between the plantar fasciitis that bothered him late in the season and the possibility of giving up a first-round draft pick to sign him if the Blue Jays offer him arbitration Monday. There are voices in the organization that believe that another possibility is second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was a shortstop in the Montreal and Cleveland organizations and hit 20 homers for the Reds last season.
Further muddying the Red Sox's dilemma at shortstop is that prospect Jed Lowrie's status for next season remains uncertain because of his surgically repaired wrist. Nick Green, who also played shortstop for Boston last season, opted for free agency after the Red Sox removed him from their 40-man roster this month.
"One thing they know is that I will catch the ball," Pedroia said.
When Pedroia signed in 2004, he played shortstop for 42 games in the South Atlantic and Florida State leagues and did not make an error. He moved to second base in 2005 at Portland because of Hanley Ramirez -- who was later traded to the Marlins in the Josh Beckett deal -- but played short there and in Pawtucket and in 270 minor league games made a total of seven errors.
Francona played him some games at shortstop in spring training in 2006 and was unimpressed.
"I was 20 pounds heavier. I tried to get big and it was a disaster. I know it. It's all about quickness, agility and flexibility, and I know it," Pedroia said.
"I've really worked hard on speed, agility and flexibility as well as all the strength, conditioning and endurance programs," Pedroia said. "It's really helping me. I have much more quickness and speed than I ever had. Maybe there is some question about my arm strength, but I'm working on that. I can do it. I hope it happens."
If Pedroia were moved to shortstop, it wouldn't be a career move, as 19-year-old Jose Iglesias showed enough in the Arizona Fall League to put him on the radar for the 2012 season, if not 2011.
For now, Pedroia hasn't been told that he will make the move.
"When the idea of moving back to shortstop was floated to me, I welcomed it," Pedroia said. "I'm excited. Tell Derek [Jeter] to enjoy the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards while he can. Obviously, I'm not serious about the fun I have with Derek, but I'm never stopping believing in the goal. I believe I can play shortstop and help get the Red Sox back where they belong."
Information from ESPN's Peter Gammons was used in this report.
They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, 'Can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it.
-- Dustin Pedroia