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Betts (left side), Pedroia (left knee) day to day

OF could return during Astros series; 2B scratched, likely to sit Friday
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

HOUSTON -- Already without Mookie Betts (left side soreness) for a fifth straight game, the Red Sox scratched second baseman Dustin Pedroia with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee just prior to the start of Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Astros in the opener of a four-game series.

Pedroia made his season debut on May 26 and had a scheduled day of rest for Wednesday's finale of the homestand against the Blue Jays. Pedroia, who had a cartilage restoration procedure on his knee last October, has played three games this season, going 1-for-11 while playing solid defense.

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HOUSTON -- Already without Mookie Betts (left side soreness) for a fifth straight game, the Red Sox scratched second baseman Dustin Pedroia with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee just prior to the start of Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Astros in the opener of a four-game series.

Pedroia made his season debut on May 26 and had a scheduled day of rest for Wednesday's finale of the homestand against the Blue Jays. Pedroia, who had a cartilage restoration procedure on his knee last October, has played three games this season, going 1-for-11 while playing solid defense.

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The Red Sox listed Pedroia as day to day, and manager Alex Cora said after the game he will likely sit on Friday as well.

"I was a little sore during BP and then I just figured that was just it," said Pedroia. "And then I did all my activation stuff before the game and it was still a little sore. Then I went out and ran. I have to be honest with them right now. They said this is a part of it. This is why you have to be honest, so they can catch it before you have to be down for a while. That was it. I just told them. They just said, 'Hey, it's part of it.' They knew this was going to happen certain days and today was one of those days. It stinks, but it is what it is."

There's a chance Betts will play Friday.

"He's coming in early tomorrow. We got early work," said Cora. "Today he hit a little bit off the tee, so he's going to go through a whole thing of baseball activities, and then we'll make a decision."

Cora doesn't feel the Red Sox need to put Betts on the disabled list.

"No, no, I do feel with the roster we have, we're OK," Cora said. "We're flexible enough we can pay Blake [Swihart], we can play J.D. [Martinez], we can play Brock [Holt]. We're good."

Holt was originally supposed to play right field on Thursday. But he went to second base once Pedroia was scratched, and Swihart made the start in right.

Betts, who has played as well as anyone in the Major Leagues this season, last played in a game on Saturday. Cora maintained what he has said in recent days -- that if it were September, Betts would be playing.

"It makes no sense for us to push him," said Cora. "We've been taking care of guys from Day One of Spring Training."

A two-time All-Star, Betts leads the Majors in wRC+ (212), batting average (.359), slugging percentage (.750), OPS (1.187) and runs scored (52), and his 17 homers trail only teammate J.D. Martinez, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Jose Ramirez, who each have 18.

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

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia