PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Undeterred by the team’s recent crushing losses and the news that Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the disabled list indefinitely, Dustin Pedroia boldly predicted that the best is yet to come for the Red Sox this season.
“Jump on the wagon now because it’s going to be a fun ride,’’ Pedroia said after playing in a game for the first time in seven weeks during Pawtucket’s 6-5 win over Buffalo at McCoy Stadium.
Pedroia, who had an infield single and a walk in four plate appearances, and handled the only ground-ball chance he had at second base, will serve as DH for the PawSox on Sunday afternoon. He expects to be activated when the Red Sox return home Tuesday to play the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park.
“It doesn’t mean we’re out of anything,’’ Pedroia said, alluding to the back-to-back walk-off losses the Sox had in Toronto and Texas. “Everybody in the clubhouse feels we can win. We don’t need to prove anything to anybody. We’ve had guys fight through it all year. Frankly we don’t give a [expletive] what anyone thinks. We’re trying to win games, and that’s the attitude we have.’’
Pedroia said he spoke by phone with Ellsbury, who was diagnosed with swelling tissue in the same area he fractured five ribs in April and was placed on the DL by the Sox on Saturday. The Sox did not announce a timetable when Ellsbury is expected to return, but given the new trauma to the area that kept Ellsbury sidelined for months, a quick return would appear highly unlikely.
“I talked to him before the game,’’ Pedroia said. “It’s tough, man. He’s dealt with a lot this year. The guy has been hurt all year long. He started out of the gate, the first nine games he was playing great, then he got hurt. It’s been tough on him.
“Ells plays 100 percent. Injuries are part of baseball. We need him 100 percent to do his thing. It’s tough.’’
Facing left-hander Michael Antonini on Saturday, Pedroia grounded sharply to third in his first at-bat, then whacked a comebacker that bounced off Antonini’s leg into no-man’s land. Pedroia got down the baseline at a normal rate both times, showing no ill effects of the fractured left foot he sustained when he fouled a ball off his foot on June 25.
Pedroia flied to right in his third at-bat, and then drew a full-count walk facing side-winding lefty Adam Pettyjohn in the seventh.
“I felt good,’’ Pedroia said. “It’s been a while since I played, so later in the game I felt a little tired. But overall, man, I felt fine … I didn’t hold anything back, if that’s what you’re asking."
Pedroia said his last at-bat was particularly useful because he saw a lot of pitches and laid off a 3-and-2 changeup to draw a walk.
His cocky persona remains in midseason form. When someone asked what he planned to do as DH, he said: “Put the damn ball on the barrel. What are you planning to do, write a [expletive] story? Hell, no.’’
So will he be driving this bus the rest of the way?
“We’re all trying,’’ he said. “Everyone’s been hurt, everyone’s been grinding. It’s been fun to watch. We fought every game. This is a pretty special group. I hope we can sneak in there and surprise everybody.’’