The struggling Red Sox will get a boost as they finally play their 2019 home opener, as the club announced today that second baseman Dustin Pedroia has been activated from the injured list. Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin was optioned to Triple-A to create roster space.
The 35-year-old Pedroia played in just three games last year and saw only limited action in camp. His surgically repaired left knee remains a long-term concern, but it’s evidently in good enough form to enable him to get back onto the active roster — and into the lineup. He’ll line up at his customary second base and hit seventh.
When last we saw him in extended action, back in 2017, Pedroia was still capable of turning in a league-average performance at the plate. While he popped just seven home runs in 463 plate appearances and carried a marginal .099 isolated power mark that just barely topped his prior low point, Pedroia still displayed impeccable plate discipline and contact skills.
Pedroia ended the ’17 campaign with a .293/.369/.392 slash. He continued to draw stellar grades for his glovework from Ultimate Zone Rating, though Defensive Runs Saved took a dimmer view. Baserunning was an issue, according to Fangraphs’ BsR measure, which graded Pedroia as a clear negative.
He surely won’t ever be as spry as he once was, but Pedroia could still be quite a useful player for the Boston organization — if he can keep his knee in working order. The hard-nosed star remains under contract for $15MM this year and $25MM combined for the ensuing two seasons. Eduardo Nunez will surely spell him rather often to keep the joints fresh. Lin and Brock Holt (currently on the injured list) are among the options to fill in or supplement Pedroia as the season unfolds.