Pedroia underwent a microfracture procedure and cartilage replacement in his left knee last October after playing with discomfort and limited to 105 games in 2017.
The Red Sox entered Friday's series opener against the Astros with a 97-44 record and a 9 1/2-game lead in the American League East; second base has become one of the team's deepest positions, with Ian Kinsler leading a cast that also includes Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Phillips.
"Obviously, it's getting late in the year," said Pedroia. "We don't have games to play to build up, things like that. ... To risk everything for rushing to come back and play, I mean, I've had three surgeries on my knee in 10 months. It's probably not wise for my career and my life to do that, and the team pointed that out.
"You guys all know me. I'll do whatever I'm asked of. But I appreciate the way that they kind of stepped in and said, 'You know, don't [jeopardize] what's next. It'll change the way your everyday life is.' That's why."
The 35-year-old Pedroia played in just three games in 2018, going 1-for-11 back in May. In late July, he and the team decided that he would resume his rehab from his home base in Arizona. It was revealed for the first time on Friday that around that same time, Pedroia underwent an arthroscopic procedure in the knee that revealed the scar tissue that was the root of his setback at the end of May.
After that minor surgery, Pedroia continued his comeback, creating perhaps a small glimmer of hope that he could play again this season. Instead he will shift all of his focus to 2019 -- and he has no doubt he'll not only return at that point, he'll be the productive player he's been for most of his career.
"Yeah, I'll be ready, 100 percent," he said. "The issue I had was more of a scar tissue thing. It was kind of stuck to the area where I had surgery, and it was pulling on it, and obviously it was painful. We took care of that. Once that happened, I was pretty relieved. Just the way I felt, the way I was moving and the way I was recovering, I'm excited going forward. It stinks not being able to help out playing, but it's a part of it. You deal with it the best you can. Going forward, I'll be fine and back to normal."
Pedroia was in uniform on Friday, doing his rehab, and he will be with the team the rest of the season.
"Actually, he's hitting, he's swinging a bat, he's running, but we ran out of time," said Cora. "Like I've been saying the whole season, we've got to take care of the players, the individual. This guy, he means so much to this franchise. What he's done the last few years, he deserves the respect that we gave him through the process for him to try to come back. He's put himself close enough, but not close enough."
Already a member of two World Series championship teams in his career, Pedroia realizes how special this year's group is, and he'll do whatever he can to help in a non-playing role.
"I'm going to be here the whole time with the guys, just helping out any way I can, talking to them about anything," he said. "I know I don't look like much, but I'm half intelligent, so any questions they have or whatever, I'll be there for them in any way and try to help out."