Gill: Pedroia has bruised right kneecap

NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia has a bruised right kneecap, the team announced Thursday night, and is expected to rejoin the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Pedroia was examined Thursday afternoon by Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill, but even before learning the results of that exam, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he expected Pedroia to return to the starting lineup in Toronto.

Pedroia, who has an aversion to flying, took the train back to Boston on Thursday along with pitcher Bobby Jenks, who went on the disabled list Thursday with what is described as tightness in his left back.

Gill performed a procedure in which he inserted a needle into Pedroia's knee and looked at the knee's interior through a miniature camera attached to the needle. It is a minimally invasive procedure.

The knee issue is one that stems from last season, Francona said. "He's got a little bit of a cartilage issue,'' Francona said. "We all know about it.''

Pedroia first sustained the injury on May 15, 2010, in Detroit, when he took an awkward step while trying to score from second on David Ortiz's fourth-inning single. "I tried to make a cut and I just tweaked my knee," Pedroia said at the time. "It's nothing serious, but I wasn't moving around very well for the rest of the game.''

Pedroia sat out the next day in Detroit, then struggled over his next games, batting just .094 (3 for 32). But just when it appeared the knee might become a more serious issue, the Sox second baseman embarked on a month-long tear in which he batted .342 (39 for 114), culminating in a 5 for 5 game in Colorado in which he hit three home runs. The next night, in San Francisco, Pedroia fouled a ball off his left foot, fracturing the navicular bone.

On May 16, almost a year to the day that he originally hurt his knee, Pedroia said he banged it hard while making a play against the Orioles, and it has bothered him since.

"It's been nagging at him a lot this year,'' Francona said. "What we're trying to do today is look at the knee ... and reassure us and Pedey that he can play and not hurt himself.''

The Sox had an off-day Monday, which would have given Pedroia a chance to be examined and not miss a game. The decision was made to examine him Thursday, Francona said, because Pedroia complained of more discomfort. "It was still grabbing at him,'' Francona said.

Pedroia tried to put off the exam, Francona said, but the team insisted. Still, while Francona expects Pedroia will continue to experience discomfort, he predicts the exam will show Pedroia can play without the risk of further damage.

"I fully expect he'll be hitting second tomorrow [in Toronto],'' the manager said. "...I don't think he's going to miss any time. I'll be surprised if it's something different.''