FT. MYERS, FL – MARCH 7: Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox prepares in the field during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins on March 7, 2019 at JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia made his much anticipated return with the Boston Red Sox with his first appearance in nearly 10 months. The 35-year-old missed all of last season because of a nagging injury in his left knee.

Pedroia played in two innings against the Minnesota Twins and led off to begin the bottom of the first inning. The California-native was able to record a hit in his first at-bat of the spring. Even though it was just an infield-single, finally appearing in a game is a huge step for Pedroia.

Pedroia’s Comeback

Pedroia has not appeared in a game since May 29 against the Toronto Blue Jays. He then followed that up by undergoing invasive knee surgery that forced him out for the rest of the season. The Red Sox second basemen stated to the media after the game that he always had plans to return for 2019. Despite the retirement speculation, Pedroia never lost his focus about an eventual return.

He also talked about how he will continue to be cautious with his knee during future games. While Pedroia is well-known for making flashy plays at second-base, he will now try to limit those types of movements in order to preserve the longevity of his knee.

Boston manager Alex Cora will also be cautious with how the team moves forward with Pedroia. After the game against the Twins, Cora stated to the media that he will likely play it safe with Pedroia’s playing time over the first couple of games. But he will start treating him like normal after a couple more appearances, if his knee is able to stay healthy.

2019 Outlook

The Red Sox will have multiple options for second base this season. Along with Pedroia, they will have Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt as viable options. Fans likely will not see Pedroia finish the season anywhere close to 100 games played, unless he’s able to produce numbers similar to his 2017 season. In that season, he played in 105 games and produced seven home runs, 62 RBI, a .293 BA and a .369 OBP.

Pedroia is owed $15 million this season, and $25 million over the next two seasons. The Red Sox will want to give him every chance they can for him to be able to be an effective player for them this season and beyond. Nunez and Holt (both impending free agents) will likely split playing time with Pedroia if he’s healthy to start the season.

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