BOSTON — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will take an “indefinite leave” in his long struggle to recover from knee trouble, putting in doubt whether he’ll play again in the majors.
The 35-year-old Pedroia has tried the past two seasons to fully return from surgery on his left knee. At a news conference Monday at Fenway Park, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski called it an “indefinite leave at this point.” Boston put the longtime star on the 60-day injured list.
Pedroia said “time will give me the right answer if my knee can do this.”
The gritty 2008 AL MVP had surgery on Oct. 25, 2017 and played in just three games last season. This year, he’s played in only six games, getting two singles in 20 at-bats.
“You don’t know the end result and that part’s hard,” he said. “So that’s why a little reflection right now, I need to re-evaluate, go home, chill out and see how everything responds.”
Indians manager Terry Francona, who was with the Red Sox from 2004-11 and won a World Series title with Pedroia in 2007, talked with the second baseman earlier in the day. Cleveland is in Boston for a three-game series.
“He came over this morning for about a half hour,” Francona said. “I think he’s in a pretty good place. I think, I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he knows he emptied his tank. He didn’t leave any stone unturned. He probably gave more than he should, and his body is feeling it now. I don’t think he has any regrets – nor should he.”
Pedroia said the time away will help him think about his future.
“I’m going to go home for a little bit to be with my family, kind of get away for a little bit and then we’ll figure it out from there,” he said.
Pedroia did say he’d be there when the team needs him – via video chat.
“You can always FaceTime,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, smiling, sitting to Pedroia’s right in a press conference with Dombrowski on Pedroia’s left.
“I FaceTime a lot,” Pedroia said. “In our hitters’ meetings when I was away last year.”
Pedroia’s knee troubles began in April 2017, when then-Orioles star Manny Machado took out Pedroia with a hard slide at second base.
“It sucks,” said Machado, now with the Padres. “Obviously, he could down as one of the greatest Red Sox to play this game. Whenever stuff like that happens, you definitely don’t want to walk away from the game, and hopefully he gets back and he gets healthy. I think he has a couple of more years on his contract, so I think he has a lot of time to get healthy and hopefully get back in the game.”
Pedroia has a $15 million salary this year and is owed $13 million in 2020 and $12 million in 2021, with $2.5 million a year deferred without interest.
He re-aggravated his left knee in a game at Yankee Stadium on April 17 and was put on the 10-day IL with left knee irritation.
He’s started and stopped rehab assignments a few times before he removed himself from a game at Double-A Portland last Friday due to soreness.
“It’s kind of tough when all the doctors are saying ‘No’ and I’m saying ‘Yes,”’ he said.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP Freelancer Larry Fleisher in New York contributed to this story.
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