Red Sox Notebook

Pedroia has abdominal strain

After exam he's pulled from WBC

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / March 15, 2009
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - It was not a good day to be a member of the Red Sox middle infield. Not only did Julio Lugo get word that he may have a torn meniscus in his right knee and may need surgery, but Dustin Pedroia found himself headed back here after he suffered a strain in his lower left abdominal region at the World Baseball Classic in Miami.

Pedroia was examined at his home in Fort Myers last night by team physician Thomas Gill, who deemed the strain minor.

The Red Sox announced the second baseman will be held out from activity for a couple of days and is not expected to miss significant time, but he is no longer participating in the WBC.

Doctors at the WBC originally pronounced that he had a mild strain in his left oblique, according to a baseball source.

"I was hitting extra yesterday and kind of felt some soreness," Pedroia told reporters in Miami. "Started taking flips today and I kind of felt a shooting pain a little bit. Our hitting coach, Reggie Smith, said, 'Hey, that's it. Go get checked out.' Our trainer, obviously, called the Red Sox and I'll get checked out by the doctors there. I think it's more precautionary than anything.

"Obviously, I'm upset. It's a couple of days and I'll be back tomorrow after I get checked out. I'll continue playing. It's up to the Red Sox. I don't really have a say in that matter."

Pedroia was asked if he had ever had an oblique problem, the same issue Josh Beckett suffered from in the postseason last year.

"No, nothing like that," Pedroia said. "I've never really had anything like this, which is why it's frustrating. Obviously, I train real hard in the offseason to get ready and try to prevent something like this from happening. Maybe I tried a little too hard, too fast to get this going."

Pedroia was scratched from last night's game against Puerto Rico and placed on the WBC disabled list. He was replaced in last night's game by Mark DeRosa and replaced on the roster by Brian Roberts.

Lester looking good
With a team source indicating the latest MRI results on Jon Lester's left arm are fine, the Red Sox' No. 2 starter is expected to be at the podium at 11 a.m. today to discuss his five-year, $30 million contract extension, terms of which were agreed upon late last week pending a physical.

The Sox have to make sure there is no change in the elbow and shoulder structure from the last MRI, given to Lester at the end of last season. They are very careful, especially with pitchers, on long-term contracts.

Yesterday, Lester started in an intrasquad game at the minor league complex in Fort Myers rather than against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale because, as pitching coach John Farrell said, he "went through some testing" Friday night, presumably the physical.

Lester threw four innings - including a four-out third inning to ratchet up his pitch count - and allowed no runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight of the 16 batters he faced. He threw 63 pitches, 39 strikes. Lester emphasized his curveball, which he is "trying to get a feel for."

"I felt good with it at times," Lester said. "Other times, it was pretty terrible."

Farrell didn't disagree with the assessment.

"It's not as sharp and as powerful as he's shown, even earlier in camp here," Farrell said. "It's a little bit of a timing issue in his delivery, which he's aware of. He has a tendency to drift through his balance at times. It's nothing of great concern by any means. It's a matter of repetition and consistency."

Lester also continued working on his changeup, a pitch he wants to throw more often. He used the pitch even when behind in the count, and he struck out Carlos Maldonado with a changeup.

"It's starting to feel better," Lester said. "I'm starting to get a feel for adjustments I need to make with it, what I need to do to be around the zone with it more. The more and more I throw it . . . and get reaction from hitters, the more confidence I get with it."

Rocco rolling
Rocco Baldelli continues to impress, DHing yesterday with two hits and two RBIs in a 9-8 loss to the Orioles.

Asked how Baldelli was doing, manager Terry Francona said, "Really good. Been really good. Guys get injured, or channelopathy or whatever, then you get a chance to see them every day, and realize, like some of the things they can do, and it gets you excited.

"He hit that double the other day, to left-center field, and that ball just jumped off his bat."

Too early to tell whether Baldelli could play every day if he had to?

"Probably too early to tell how much he'll be able to play," said Francona. "I do think he's doing really well.

"And he's a really good communicator. When he first came into camp, I think he was really worried about the perception. He's a really good kid, he wanted to do everything."

Francona said that Baldelli will play some center field, but the manager was unsure whether he'll take the reins off him completely before the end of camp.

Deep trouble
Sox pitchers allowed six home runs yesterday, two to shortstop Justin Turner. "It seems every time we come over here, the wind is blowing one way or another," said Francona. The manager was impressed with center fielder Josh Reddick at the top of the order (double, single, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly), as well as Lowrie, who doubled in a run in the first and reached base with a pair of walks . . . Josh Bard crushed two balls - an RBI single to right in the first and a ground-rule double to left-center in the fourth, both hit lefthanded, to improve his spring average to .417 . . . In his overwhelming 1-2-3 inning against Yankees minor leaguers Friday night, Daniel Bard reached 98 miles per hour with his fastball, according to Farrell. "He's down," Farrell joked; Bard hit 100 m.p.h. during one game this spring . . . Adam Mills made the start instead of Lester and pitched three innings and allowed two first-inning runs. "He never beats himself," said Francona. "He's fun to watch pitch."

Adam Kilgore and Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to this report, Cafardo from Fort Lauderdale.

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