PHILADELPHIA -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said he believes Dustin Pedroia is "100 percent" recovered from the thumb injury he sustained in the first game of the season April 1 in Yankee Stadium.
Pedroia sustained a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb while making a head-first slide into first base in the ninth inning of an 8-2 win over the New York Yankees. Despite the injury, he has started all 53 games played by the Red Sox this season, more than any player in the big leagues, and his performance has not visibly suffered: He came into Wednesday night's game against the Phillies batting .332, raising his average 39 percentage points in the last 23 games.
In hindsight, it is possible to recall a stretch earlier in the season where Pedroia was not driving the ball the way he is now and striking out at a rate much higher than his norm. In an 11-game stretch from April 6 to April 18, he struck out 15 times in 40 at-bats and had one extra-base hit.
But those days are long gone. In his last 22 games, Pedroia has posted a slash line of .384/.459/.581/1.041, with 8 doubles and 3 home runs, while striking out just nine times in 86 at-bats.
Farrell said that even after Pedroia was diagnosed with the tear, he was not concerned that Pedroia would be out for an extended period of time, not after doctors advised that he could not damage the thumb further and Pedroia elected to play through it.
"He's played at an elite level the entire year," Farrell said.
"I would categorize Pedey's situation much like other players dealing with some physical situation. They manage it through treatment," Farrell said. "Whether it's David Ortiz's] Achilles or his heels, or Mike Napoli's] hip, guys have issues they deal with. Pedey's no different in this case.
"He said it best: 'I'm a baseball player, I'm going to go out and play.' It becomes very cut and dry in his mind. To be honest, there's never a doubt coming to the ballpark that he's going to be available in the lineup on a given day."
Farrell said he sees no link between the thumb injury and Pedroia's home run total (3), saying that has been more a consequence of the way pitchers are working him.
"He's got a high pain threshold, there's no question," Farrell said. "His career has shown he's not going to be taken out of the lineup easily. He'll fight you tooth and nail to stay in the lineup. He sets a tone, not only of performance but of grit and determination."