SEATTLE -- Dustin Pedroia didn’t get back in time to play Opening Day for the Red Sox. But he will play Opening Day for Class A Greenville on Thursday when he officially starts a Minor League rehab assignment.
In the meantime, the second baseman continues to ramp up to his return from left knee woes by playing games at extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.
“Pedey just played eight innings today,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He’s going to have a re-gen day tomorrow, and he’s going to play nine on Tuesday and then he’s going to go to Greenville for Opening Day.”
The Greenville Drive plays a four-game series from Thursday through Sunday. If Pedroia plays in all or most of those games, would that be enough for him to be cleared for the Red Sox's home opener at Fenway Park on April 9?
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” said Cora.
The one thing Pedroia hasn’t done yet is play on back-to-back days.
“He played eight [innings] today at 9:30 in the morning, so that’s a good sign. He’ll play nine [Tuesday] and go from there,” Cora said. “See how he bounces back.”
Pedroia had extensive surgery on his left knee following the 2017 season and was able to play just three games last season.
Signs have been encouraging that he can have a healthier ’19.
“I think whenever he gets here, he’ll step it up a notch,” Cora said. “So far, so good. There’s no setbacks. We actually expect that from him the rest of the time, but let’s see how he goes with nine and see how he goes whenever he plays back to back, see the workload, and hopefully he can [withstand it]. He’s saying he’s swinging the bat well and getting on base a lot so hopefully he can keep doing that, not for his benefit, but for our benefit so we can get more information.”
Other bumps and bruises
• World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who started the season on the injured list with a left calf strain, is making good progress.
“He’ll play tomorrow [in Fort Myers],” Cora said. “He had a re-gen day today. He played yesterday, so he’s moving well. I think he’s getting closer.”
There’s at least a chance Pearce could be activated by next weekend, when the Red Sox finish this three-city, 11-game road trip in Phoenix against the D-backs.
• Leadoff man Andrew Benintendi, who fouled a ball off his right kneecap in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Mariners, was given the day off on Sunday.
“He’s doing OK,” Cora said. “He told me he wanted to play today. Obviously he wasn’t going to play. Give him one day, he should be ready for tomorrow. He was going to play, but after what happened yesterday, [taking a day off] makes sense. [The Mariners have a] lefty on the mound anyways. [We were going to] try to find a day for him during the week, so it worked out perfectly for me to give him an off-day.”