Can Dustin Pedroia really play shortstop, as he might be asked to do?
- "I've really worked hard on speed, agility and flexibility as well as all the strength, conditioning and endurance programs," Pedroia said. "It's really helping me. I have much more quickness and speed than I ever had. Maybe there is some question about my arm strength, but I'm working on that. I can do it. I hope it happens."
"When the idea of moving back to shortstop was floated to me, I welcomed it," Pedroia said. "I'm excited. Tell Derek [Jeter] to enjoy the gold glove and silver slugger awards while he can. Obviously, I'm not serious about the fun I have with Derek, but I'm never stopping believing in the goal. I believe I can play shortstop and help get the Red Sox back where they belong."
Pedroia played shortstop in college, and I'm sure the Red Sox got a decent read on his defense there. He also played more games at shortstop than second base in the minor leagues -- 132 games at short, 130 at second -- so I'm sure the Sox got a good read on his performance then, too. For a few years now, they've been collecting sophisticated fielding data in the minors. My point being that as they consider the switch, they'll be doing more than just guessing.
Still, there's only so much analysis to be done. Pedroia's been exclusively a second baseman for three full seasons, and physically he's different than he was. If the Red Sox do wind up moving Pedroia, there will necessarily be some leap of faith involved.
One positive: Pedroia seems to have made that leap already. His comments will be seen as revealing his character, but this isn't about character so much as personality. There are great guys who simply wouldn't be comfortable with making a move like this, just as there are great guys who don't like to travel and great guys who don't like to eat green peppers. There are bad guys who are great teammates.
I don't know a thing about Dustin Pedroia's character, but he sure does sound like a great teammate.