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TON -- Dustin Pedroia was diagnosed with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb following an MRI on Tuesday, and the Red Sox are hoping a brace can keep the second baseman from a potential month-long trip to the disabled list, where the team already has too many of its big-name players.
"It's just a matter of me being able to swing with a brace on it or something," Pedroia said after sitting out a 6-3 Sox win over the Tigers at Fenway Park. "So I'm going to go get something made, see how it feels, and if I can't do it, then I think it's three to four weeks. Hopefully it's not that."
While third baseman Kevin Youkilis dealt with an injury to the same area that required season-ending surgery in August 2010, general manager Ben Cherington said surgery is not being considered for Pedroia, because he does not have any tendon tearing as Youkilis did. There's a chance, too, that Pedroia could continue to play while healing, but the Sox aren't sure yet.
"All my ligaments and tendons, that's all fine," said Pedroia. "It's just a muscle -- your only muscle in your thumb. I've just got to wait for it to calm down a little and see if I can hit with a splint on it or a brace or something and go from there."
Cherington said the injury can be treated conservatively.
"It's just a matter of making sure that before he goes back out there that we're protecting him as best we can, where he's not putting himself at any undue risk where he's in a position to be the player he's always is," said Cherington. "[We are] working on that, working on ways to protect him. ... He felt a lot better this evening than he did yesterday."
The plan, at least for Wednesday when the Sox play the Tigers again at Fenway Park, is to keep Pedroia on the active roster and play with a short bench while team and player continue to deliberate what's best. Cherington acknowledged that playing short was less than ideal, but with a player of Pedroia's stature, it's a necessary and temporary compromise.
The injury became public after Pedroia was pulled in the sixth inning Monday -- an inning after he made a diving play -- but the injury stems from early May.
"I did it three weeks ago and yesterday as well," Pedroia said of hurting himself. "Right now, I'm just trying to get all the treatment I can and hopefully it's not that long."
The details of a potential protective brace should become clearer on Wednesday in consultation with team orthopedist Peter Asnis. The idea is to create something "that would probably be a combination of padding and a way to stabilize the thumb so that at impact, there's less trauma in the area," Cherington said.
No further medical tests are necessary. Pedroia's MRI was reviewed by the club's medical staff and by Arizona-based orthopedic surgeon Donald Sheridan, who performed surgery on Pedroia's left hand in 2007. Cherington said Pedroia was not bothered by this injury when throwing, despite the tear's location in his throwing hand.
With a player of Pedroia's caliber -- he's hitting .295 with five home runs and 21 RBIs -- the Sox want to do everything they can to keep him on the field, but Cherington repeated several times the importance of not putting Pedroia in position to worsen the injury.
"There's some risk. Just like with any injury, there's a risk that it could worsen," Cherington said. "And that's our job and Dustin's job to make sure that we're minimizing that risk as much as possible before he gets back out there."
The Red Sox have 12 players on the disabled list, including Andrew Bailey, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury.