Pedroia playing through torn muscle

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia tore a thumb muscle diving into first base on Opening Day, an injury that would shelve some players but one Pedroia decided to play through.

Pedroia was examined the day after the April 1 game in New York, and it was discovered he had a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, the Boston Herald reported. Doctors told him he could play through the injury and not risk long-term damage to the thumb.

“It's clear that when he dove into first base Opening Day in New York, every exam that needed to be done to make it a correct diagnosis was done. It came back as it is,” manager John Farrell said on Boston sports radio station WEEI on Wednesday afternoon. “I think everybody that was involved, Dustin being the most important one in that, felt like there was no further damage could be done, the decision for him to continue on.

“And much like any other guy that’s dealing with not being 100 percent or banged up in certain ways, guys go about their work to manage the situation they find themselves in physically to be ready to play every night and Dustin is no different. He’s having a heck of a year.”

The 29-year-old Pedroia has played in all 53 of the Red Sox's games this season, hitting .332 with 3 homers, 28 RBIs and an .866 OPS. Upon initial glance it might seem like the thumb injury is impacting his power numbers, but a closer look reveals that’s not the case. Through the first 53 games of 2008, his MVP season, he had an identical number of homers, a lower average (.291) and an OPS that was more than 125 points lower (.731).

Farrell hasn’t seen Pedroia favoring the thumb at all this season, but he has noticed pitchers throwing down and away to the second baseman. As a response, Farrell said, the right-handed Pedroia has been taking pitches to the opposite field more often.

“People shouldn’t know if you’re 100 percent or not,” Pedroia told the Herald. “It is what it is, and it’s my responsibility to perform well. My mindset is if I’m nicked up, I have to find other ways to perform. That’s the way I think about it. Maybe I’m crazy.’’