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Chatting with Alex Cora: Red Sox optimistic Dustin Pedroia will be ready for Opening Day

Cora also made Pedroia a special promise if he’s healthy enough to start.

Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In a chat at the Baseball Winter Meetings yesterday, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that he expects second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left knee) to be ready for Opening Day.

Cora also said he made a promise to Pedroia that would let him bat leadoff if he were healthy enough to start at second base on Opening Day in Seattle.

“[Pedroia] is doing better. He’s going to start doing his offseason workouts coming up. He feels great. He feels like everything he did from the last surgery, all the way until now, is putting him in a good spot. If he’s ready to play [on Opening Day] in Seattle, he’s leading off. I did promise him that.”

When asked if it was a realistic expectation for Pedroia to be ready for Opening Day, Cora added, “I think so, yeah.”

Pedroia has been battling with a knee injury since early on in the 2017 season. It’s not quite clear when Pedroia first suffered the injury, but it could have happened when then-Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado slid into second base and took out Pedroia.

Pedroia was able to play in 105 games in 2017, despite the injury, and he slashed .293/.369/.392, knocking in 62 runs on 119 hits, including seven home runs, while striking out 48 times and walking 49.

However, his 2018 featured much less playing time. He continued to re-aggravate his left knee, and was only able to play in three games, slashing .091/.231/.091; over 13 plate appearances, he picked up one single and two walks, while striking out once.

After winning the World Series, the Red Sox activated Pedroia off of the 60-day disabled list.

The Red Sox are hopeful that their terrific medical and training staff can help Pedroia get healthy so he is good to go for his age-35 season in 2019.