The next-man-in philosophy is no stranger to the world of sports. When a player gets hurt, it’s up to the next guy to step in and fill the void. Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Lowell, Jeremy Hermida and Jed Lowrie were already on the disabled list when catcher Victor Martinez and second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined them in the past week.
Pedroia’s absence may be the biggest hit yet. The former American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year was in the middle of busting out of a slump before he fouled a ball of his foot on June 25. He’d raised his average 40 points in the two weeks leading up to the injury, but a broken foot is expected to sideline him for six weeks.
Still, the Red Sox enter the month of July right on the heels of the New York Yankees in the ever-exciting race for the American League East title. And Boston entered Wednesday on a three-game winning streak since losing Pedroia. At least for now, the next-man-in approach hasn’t stopped the Red Sox from being one of the top teams in Major League Baseball.
Dustin Pedroia joined The Big Show on WEEI in Boston to talk about his broken foot, how he’s passing the time while rehabbing and how the Red Sox will survive without him.
On how he broke his foot by fouling a ball of it:
“When you hit the ball that hard and you hit that part of your foot, something’s going to give. You should have checked the ball. The ball was pretty messed up, too.”
On how long Pedroia will be out of the Red Sox lineup:
“I go to the doctor the other day and I’m waiting to hear and everything. Me and [head athletic trainer] Mikey Reinold are just getting out of the car and he’s dropping me off at my place. I get up and sit down on my couch and there it is on the Bottom Line that I’m out six weeks. I’m like, ‘Man, I wish they would’ve told me that at the doctor’s office.'”
On whether he knew his foot was broken right away:
“It hurt. Usually when you do that, and I’ve done that 1,000 times in my life … but I missed [my pad]. I went to get up and it was cold that night and I was just thinking it got me pretty good but it was cold and that’s it. Maybe that’s it. But I went to try and get up and I really couldn’t walk. Tito and Mike Reinold came out and asked ‘What do you got?’ I said, ‘Let me finish the bat and we’ll see.’ Thank God he threw me a ball because that would’ve been a circus, me trying to run to first base.”
On how the Red Sox have had success with their fresh faces:
“We’ve had a lot of guys get hurt all year. Each guy that steps up just feels that they can play good and fill the role. Every guy that has stepped up for a guy that has been injured has performed well. If they keep that going, when everyone gets healthy, we’re going to be one of the best teams in the big leagues. And we already are, with guys hurt. So it’s pretty exciting.”
On how he busted out of a recent slump:
“I tweaked my knee earlier in the year and that kind of affected me a little bit. That last game in Cleveland, I got a couple hits and then I think we had an off day. I started to feel better physically and the game started to slow down for me. … Then I kind of just took off. That’s what I’ve done. I’m kind of a consistent hitter, but I have my hot streaks and my cold streaks. Once I got going, I felt like I couldn’t get out, so it’s just tough timing breaking my foot.”
On how crazy he’ll go with all the downtime due to injury:
“I actually do more stuff now than I did before when I was playing. I got [to Fenway Park] at the same time and did all my rehab, then went up and lifted weights for about 45 minutes. Then I actually went down and took ground balls on my knees and threw a little bit. I want to make sure my arm doesn’t get out of shape and my hand-eye, I want to make sure that’s fine so when I’m healed up, play a couple games and then let’s rock.”