ST. PETERSBURG -- A couple of hours before the Red Sox opened their 2018 season, Dustin Pedroia remained engaged with his teammates, playing cards with three of them for about an hour.But it was all going to feel a little different once the game started Thursday at Tropicana Field. Pedroia's
ST. PETERSBURG -- A couple of hours before the Red Sox opened their 2018 season, Dustin Pedroia remained engaged with his teammates, playing cards with three of them for about an hour.
But it was all going to feel a little different once the game started Thursday at Tropicana Field. Pedroia's streak of 11 straight Opening Day starts at second base -- the most by any active player with the same team -- was ending.
Pedroia's streak started in 2007, when he went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. At that time, Alex Cora was his teammate. Now, Cora is his manager.
"We talked a little bit yesterday," Cora said. "You could tell that he's disappointed. But, like I told him, I said, 'Dusty, man, think about it. Playing with one leg right now, although you're trending in the right direction, playing with two legs whenever it is. Be the player that we know you can be.' He understands that. He'll be right next to me [on the bench]."
Prior to the game, the Red Sox officially placed Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list, a move everyone knew was coming since October, when he underwent a cartilage restoration procedure on his left knee.
Pedroia could return at some point in May.
"I'm just recovering and focusing on getting back," Pedroia said. "It happens. I'm still building up."
Relievers Tyler Thornburg and Austin Maddox were also placed on the DL. Thornburg is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome near his right shoulder and Maddox has a right shoulder strain.
Infielder Marco Hernandez, who is recovering from left shoulder surgery, was placed on the 60-day DL.
That series of moves made room for left-hander Bobby Poyner and right-hander Marcus Walden, who were both selected to Boston's active Major League roster on Thursday. Walden and Poyner won the final two bullpen spots coming out of Spring Training.
Like a baby
On the eve of his first game as manager of the Red Sox, Cora said he slept like a baby. And the first thing he did when he awoke Thursday was to go to a local pharmacy and buy diapers for his twin babies.
"Man, I was able to sleep, I got up this morning and I had to go to CVS to get diapers and baby food at 9 a.m., it's just a regular day," Cora said. "For me, this is something I always wanted to do, but it's not going to change who I am regardless of all the madness and all the noise around the organization and the city that we live in. We know where we're at, we understand it, we embrace it. But man, I'm 42 and [sometimes] I have to go to the pharmacy and get diapers."
It was not lost on Cora what a big day Thursday was for baseball enthusiasts in his homeland of Puerto Rico.
"I know they'll be watching," Cora said. "They've been looking for this day for a while. Not only for what I mean for them, but my dad was very important for a lot of people back home. He was the founder of the Little League chapter in my hometown [Caguas], and for them to see me in this situation, they go back and they think about him. They're appreciative."
E-Rod, Pomeranz making progress
Though both on the DL to start the season, lefties Thomas Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez continue to progress.
Pomeranz, who is coming back from a strained flexor in his left forearm, pitched in a Minor League game on Wednesday. Rodriguez, coming off right knee surgery, did so on Thursday.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Rodriguez and Pomeranz return in April.
"They're feeling good," Cora said. "Obviously they have the good days and their bad days, but it's trending [in a good] way."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.