Pedroia -- .376 last 2 months -- gets day off

MINNEAPOLIS -- Dustin Pedroia was given his first day off in almost two months, his last coming on June 9 when he was sent home to have his sore right knee checked and lubricated.

In the time since, Pedroia has been on a phenomenal tear, batting .376 with a .447 on-base percentage and .624 slugging percentage, with 11 home runs and 9 stolen bases. All three of those numbers -- batting average, OBP and SGP -- are the highest in the majors in that span. Pedroia and teammate Adrian Gonzalez (.370 BA, .444 OBP) ranked 1-2 over that time, while Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino (.620) had the second highest slugging percentage.

“He needed it,’’ Sox manager Terry Francona said of the day off. “I kept telling him the last couple of days I was going to check with him after the game, and he was fighting me the last two days.

“A couple of days ago he was, ‘Yeah, it would be a good idea,’ then the last couple of days he was fighting me. I said, ‘OK, I’ll just check with you.’ He was screaming at me.

“Then last night after the game he said, ‘Yeah I’m tired.’ This will be good for him.’’

Pedroia did get in the game, grounding out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

* J.D. Drew took 35 swings in the batting cage Wednesday and will hit on the field Friday and Saturday in Seattle. Francona said he will be re-evaluated then. Drew has been on the DL since July 26 (retroactive to July 20) with what the club is calling an impingement of his left shoulder.

* Jonathan Papelbon, who has pitched in each of the last three games, is not eligible to close. Francona was hedging his bets on whether he would close with Daniel Bard, who has pitched in three of the last four games.