Dustin Pedroia fractured his left foot on Friday when he fouled a pitch off of himself, and he'll be out for possibly six weeks or more, though the team doesn't have a timetable yet.
Selfishly, this is a huge blow, as Pedroia is my all-time FAVORITE player to watch: the way he puts everything on the line, every play, accompanied by his good-as-gold postgame comments make him my can't-miss player.
Of all the injuries this season (Ellsbury, Cameron, Beckett, Hermida, and now Buchholz), Pedey's will hurt this team the most, as he's not only a Gold Glove caliber defender and MVP type hitter, but he's the heart and soul of that team.
Since the "idiots" of 2004 disbanded, many fans have complained that the team lacked personality, and Pedroia certainly supplied his fair share of that. He's the undisputed spark plug of the team, and was coming off a "laser show" performance Thursday with three homers when his reality shattered.
“I’m just going to try to be positive for all the guys,’’ Pedroia said. “They know how I play the game, and they know I’ll be in the dugout watching the game and trying to see things on the field to help us win. I don’t know. I’ve never really done this before, so it’s not real fun.’’
His manager and teammates are almost as dissappointed as Pedey himself:
“He means a lot," said Bill Hall (who will be starting in Pedroi'a stead), "To me, he’s our second captain. Obviously, [Jason Varitek’s] No. 1. Pedey with his emotion and how hard he plays and the big hits he gets, he means a lot to this team emotionally. We’re going to miss him a lot. If he’s in the dugout, I know he’s going to be rooting for us and giving us that same energy and we’re going to need that.’’
I would take that even further and suggest that Pedroia is the de facto captain. I know Varitek is the one who wears that "C" on his chest, but with a diminished role this season he isn't as visible as he once was, while Pedroia is out there every play, putting his body on the line, and running his infamous mouth in the clubhouse.
This could easily be the straw that breaks the camel's back - there's no replacing Dustin Pedroia:
Said Tito, “You can’t replace Pedey. That’s why he’s Pedey. But we’ll do what we always do — look at the lineup, see who’s pitching, and tell guys the night before who’s going to play.’’
Of course, Francona has performed admirably this season, mixing and matching his way to the third best record in the majors, but he's right about Pedroia. You can scoff all you want at the notion of "intangibles," but Pedey's got them in abundance, in addition to his resume loaded with very real and measurable accomplishments, and the Red Sox are going to miss him.
As for me? I miss him already. I'll continue watching the Sox no matter what, but it just won't be the same without Pedroia on the job every day. Here's hoping Pedey's recovery time is as quick as his wit, because I'm already having withdrawal.
[All quotes in this post are from the Boston Globe online.]