Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will open the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora announced to reporters today (link via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). Cora stressed that there have been no setbacks for Pedroia in his return from the knee issues that limited him to three games last season. Rather, the veteran is simply still in the process of building up to be able to handle a full workload. He’ll play in games every other day for the remainder of exhibition games before returning to extended Spring Training to continue building up strength. Pedroia, Bradford writes, feels he will be sufficiently built up but didn’t voice frustration with the team’s decision to proceed with caution. Based on his comments, it doesn’t sound like he’s looking at a particularly lengthy absence to open the year. “It’s only, I think, a week or something, the plan that they set,” said Pedroia. “If it’s being smart for a week and we make sure I respond great to everything thrown at me then it’s a good decision.”
Here’s more from the AL East…
- After signing a late minor league deal with the Blue Jays, right-hander Bud Norris doesn’t have the benefit of a full spring audition for a roster spot, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com writes that Norris’ early work has impressed manager Charlie Montoyo. “He looked to me like a closer, a late-inning guy, pitching yesterday,” Montoyo said after Norris’ Jays debut, in which he struck out a pair of opposing hitters and reached the mid-90s with his fastball in a perfect inning. Righty Ken Giles is penciled in as the closer in Toronto, though Norris has no shortage of experience there after spending parts of the past two seasons as a closer in Anaheim and St. Louis, racking up a combined 47 saves in that role. He’ll reportedly earn a $3MM salary if he makes the roster.
- Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde still isn’t ready to make any declarations about which young players will make the Opening Day roster, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Citing the Orioles’ active approach on the waiver wire and the multiple Rule 5 players in camp, Hyde said he likely wouldn’t make any such announcements to his players until March 25. The outfield mix, several bullpen spots and the team’s catching situation have all yet to be defined. Hyde did speak well of the versatility that both Cedric Mullins and Joey Rickard bring to the outfield, though neither has received any assurances yet, and there are also non-roster options like Eric Young Jr. still in the mix for a job.