Dustin Pedroia has thumb surgery

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is expected to be ready for Boston's opener at Baltimore on March 31 after surgery Wednesday on his left thumb.

The operation to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb was performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"It was the less involved of the two potential procedures," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "Good prognosis."

Pedroia had indicated last week to ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan that his thumb surgery could involve grafting a ligament from his wrist, "kind of like Tommy John surgery that pitchers have, only with my thumb." Pedroia did not require the more complex surgery, Cherington said.

The GM said that he was "fully confident" Pedroia would be ready for the start of the regular season, though he might have to take it slow in spring training.

"We'll see where he is, and if we need to buy time, we will," Cherington said. "We'll know more in the next few weeks."

Pedroia hurt his hand diving into first base on opening day at Yankee Stadium and played the rest of the season with the injury. The 2008 AL MVP appeared in 160 games, batting .301 with 42 doubles and 84 RBIs while helping the Red Sox win the World Series for the second time in his seven-year career.

Cherington said Pedroia likely would be eased into spring training with the idea of building him up to full strength by the time the season starts.

"That's our expectation," the GM said. "We'll know more as we get deeper into the winter on the exact timeframe."

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes and The Associated Press was used in this report.