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August 5, 2006
Pedroia playing third
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
PAWTUCKET _ PawSox manager Ron Johnson received a phone call from Boston late Friday night and the Red Sox brass requested that shortstop/second baseman Dustin Pedroia get a little taste of the hot corner.
Obviously, the Pawtucket skipper obliged and the 22-year-old infield prospect started at third base last night. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is sidelined with a sore foot, so Boston wants Pedroia to get comfortable just in case.
“He’s proved he can play second and short,” said Red Sox vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington. Playing third “is more or less a security blanket just in case something happened, and it gives him another feather in his cap. We believe he’s going to be an everyday player in the big leagues at one position, so by him playing third base is not a matter of trying to turn him into a utility player.”
Pedroia, who has played 28 games at second and 69 at shortstop this season, took ground balls at third prior to last night’s game and looked smooth doing so. When asked how he felt on the corner he said he felt comfortable.
“I’ve played that side of the infield my whole life,” he said. “It’s just another 10 feet.”
The last time he played third was during his freshman year at Arizona State in 2002 when he played 10 games. It was probably tougher then because collegiate players use aluminum bats.
“At this point if I do get called up I’ll do anything I can to help (Boston) win,” he said. “You look at the Yankees and they’ve had guys step up [due to injuries] and help the team win, so if I can do anything like that to help the Red Sox win that’s my main focus.”
He’s been through this process before and last season thought he was getting the call to the majors when former Red Sox second baseman Mark Bellhorn was designated for assignment. A call-up for Pedroia didn’t happen and he admitted he couldn’t sleep just thinking about the possibility, so this time he is remaining even-keeled.
One-time Red Sox middle-infield prospect Freddy Sanchez, who is now with Pittsburgh, was called up from Pawtucket to play third in June of 2003, he recorded 10 assists, one shy of a major-league record for third basemen.
“Probably nothing will happen,” said Pedroia. “But, if it does I’m ready. I’m real close.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:31 PM | Permalink