Pedroia’s laser show could be set to ignite again

By Robert Mays
Globe Correspondent / June 16, 2010

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Dustin Pedroia’s offensive struggles in May never worried David Ortiz. Wait long enough, he says, and you’ll see the “laser show’’ that Pedroia can put on.

Over Pedroia’s last five games, the show has arrived. The second baseman was 2 for 3 in the Red Sox’ 6-3 victory over the Diamondbacks last night and extended his hitting streak to five games. In the five-game span, Pedroia is batting .500 (10 for 20), has four doubles, and has scored six runs.

A right knee injury suffered May 15 in Detroit hampered Pedroia’s production for a majority of the month. After hitting .302 in April, Pedroia batted just .213 in May. His power numbers also dropped significantly. The second baseman slugged .333 in May, down from .573 in the first month of the season.

“I was striking out quite a bit,’’ Pedroia said. “I was lunging out to get the ball, which is really not part of my game.’’

The effects of the injury also tampered with Pedroia’s confidence in his body. For a time, it felt like something was seriously wrong.

“I thought I was messed up there for a while,’’ Pedroia said. “I was having some trouble walking upstairs. That kinda worried me.’’

When the team returned home from its trip to Cleveland last week, Pedroia had an MRI on the knee. The test revealed no serious damage, and that news meant that Pedroia could put the doubts he had about his health to rest.

“I think Pedey’s health is a big thing,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “When he got his knee checked, I think it was good for him mentally.’’

Pedroia’s confidence was evident last night. In the third inning, with two runners on, Pedroia ripped a double down the left-field line that drove in one and sent another runner to third. The double was the seventh for Pedroia in his last seven home games. He scored three batters later on a single by Victor Martinez, his second of three runs in the game.

After adding a single in the fifth, Pedroia failed to reach base in his final at-bat, but even that one ended with a hard-hit line drive to the gap in right-center field.

Ortiz’s message was shared by Francona; over a long season, patience is a necessity. Last season, it was June that gave Pedroia problems. After hitting a combined .326 over the first two months of the season, Pedroia batted .222 that month and had an OPS of .567.

In the end, the stretch was merely a speed bump as he finished the year batting .296 with an OPS of .819

“Pedey went through a dry spell,’’ Francona said. “That happens from time to time. He’ll get just as hot, as he starting to do right now.’’

Pedroia’s feelings about his latest surge show just how confident he is in his ability to work through a slump. If last month’s struggles weren’t worth worrying about, neither are this month’s recent successes.

“I’m going to get 650 at-bats,’’ Pedroia said. “There’s going to be some times where I hit it hard and some times where I don’t hit it hard.’’

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