Pedroia won’t second-guess

He insists return wasn’t premature

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 28, 2010

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A final decision is not expected until Friday, but Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia seems resigned to the fact that he will need surgery to repair his broken left foot.

Pedroia would prefer to let his navicular bone heal on its own. But he is fearful of the possible consequences, given the lack of progress made to date. The surgery offers more of a guarantee.

“What if I wait until the whole offseason, I show up in spring training, I play two games and my foot’s back to hurting?’’ he said yesterday. “That’s why we would put the pin in.’’

For now, the Sox want Pedroia to wait a week to see whether the bone shows what manager Terry Francona termed “tangible’’ healing. But Pedroia has already decided that Dr. Robert Anderson, an orthopedic specialist based in Charlotte, N.C., would do the surgery.

“He’s the best,’’ said Pedroia. “Once we finalize it, he’s the guy I want.’’

Pedroia was injured June 25 in San Francisco when he fouled a ball off the foot. He returned to the lineup Aug. 17 but lasted only two games before going back on the disabled list with pain that left him unable to sleep.

That raises the question of whether the Sox were too hasty in allowing Pedroia to get back on the field.

“That was one of the questions I think that we all had,’’ said Francona, who took part in a conference call Thursday with Anderson.

According to Francona, Anderson told the Sox that he would have cleared Pedroia to play based on the healing that had taken place to that point. There was always a chance that playing would aggravate the injury.

Pedroia does not regret the attempt.

“No, not at all,’’ he said. “It was realistic to come back when I played. It’s just a bad bone. That was it. I gave it a shot. They told me the chances that could happen and I’d have to have the pin put in. That’s just the way it is.

“The healing hasn’t been good the whole time. It just doesn’t heal quick. That’s just the way it goes.’’

Pedroia acknowledged yesterday that the foot did not feel right when he started to play and that he didn’t do himself any favors by stealing a base in his second game back or trying to beat out a sacrifice bunt.

“I didn’t reinjure myself,’’ he said. “I was cleared to play because I wasn’t hurting. Being out there for nine innings, the next night my foot hurt. I broke a bone, you know?

“Any time you go out there and you torque on it and do all kinds of things, there’s a chance that it’s not ready, and it wasn’t. It’s not healed. That’s when I shut it down.

“You can sit back and second-guess everything. Everyone has their own opinion. To be honest with you, it doesn’t really matter. I played two rehab games. They told me, ‘Hey, you need to see how this feels and go play and if you can’t play, then you need to have the pin put in.’ That was the whole thing all along.’’

At last count, Pedroia has consulted with four specialists. All have told him that the navicular bone is slow to heal because of its location. But he was fortunate that the fracture occurred on the side of the bone and not the top, which would have delayed the process even more.

“The problem is, with this bone, it doesn’t get a lot of blood supply and a lot of oxygen to that area,’’ said Pedroia. “That’s just the bone. That part was bad luck.’’

Pedroia will spend the next six days in an immobilizing boot and continue to receive treatment. The long-shot hope is for good news Friday. Regardless of that outcome, there is almost no chance Pedroia plays again this season.

“We’re not ruling him out,’’ said Francona. “But, as always, we’re going to do what we think is right. I think we have to take into consideration what happened last time.’’

The decision on the surgery will come quickly so Pedroia can get it done and get started with the rehabilitation. Anderson told the Sox that having surgery now should enable Pedroia to be ready well before the start of spring training.

“The bad part about surgery is I’ll be on crutches and in a cast,’’ said Pedroia. “But if that fixed everything, which obviously it’s going to, then that’s the best route to go right now.’’

For now, he can only watch as his teammates try to stay alive in the pennant race.

“It’s upsetting,’’ Pedroia said. “I just want to get to next week and go on from there.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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