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Red Sox target tonight for Pedroia's return

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

KANSAS CITY -- His left rib cage/lat area still heavily bruised after getting smoked by a pitch in Houston on Sunday, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed a third straight game on Wednesday against the Royals.

The club is now targeting Friday night's homestand opener against the Angels for Pedroia's return.

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KANSAS CITY -- His left rib cage/lat area still heavily bruised after getting smoked by a pitch in Houston on Sunday, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed a third straight game on Wednesday against the Royals.

The club is now targeting Friday night's homestand opener against the Angels for Pedroia's return.

View Full Game Coverage

"He has improved," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Wanted to be in the lineup, but felt he needs another full day of treatment and likely again tomorrow. He'd be available only in an emergency situation here today."

Josh Rutledge again started at second in Pedroia's absence.

While Farrell appreciated Pedroia volunteering to start on Wednesday, he decided that the two more days of recovery, which includes Thursday's team off-day, made more sense.

"I think we kind of took it out of his hands," Farrell said. "This is a guy that wants to be on the field. He wants to play. But while that pooling of fluids has come to the surface -- it's gaining some mobility -- but still, when he went down to try to swing in the cage, there's still some restriction there."

Worth noting

Hanley Ramirez, who has had a hard time gaining momentum this season, was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday and Chris Young started at DH against righty Ian Kennedy.

"It's looking like to me like the shoulders are bothering Hanley, and his at-bats have not been what he's capable of," said Farrell. "I looked upon that as some physical things that are affecting him."

Ramirez is hitting .239/.341/.394 with nine homers and 26 RBIs this season.

"To me, getting Hanley back close to the level he performed at last year would be like a midseason trade in my mind," said Farrell. "He was a dominant middle-of-the-order force for us last year, and we need more production. Here's the thing: Hanley's working at it. His presence in our lineup is critical."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia