Dustin Pedroia's lengthy comeback attempt hit another roadblock, as the Boston Red Sox second baseman suffered a "significant setback" with his left knee, a team spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Pedroia has played just nine games over the past two seasons, collecting three hits in 34 plate appearances while trying to return from a knee injury suffered in 2017 on a slide into second base by Baltimore's Manny Machado. Pedroia last played a game on April 17, 2019.
Pedroia, 36, is now discussing his options with his family, the Red Sox and his representation, sources said.
News of Pedroia's setback was first reported by The Boston Globe.
Pedroia underwent knee joint preservation surgery -- often an alternative to full knee replacement -- in August, and he spent much of the 2019 season away from the team, rehabilitating his injury and spending time with his family.
Pedroia, whose gritty nature and willingness to fight through injuries has endeared him to Red Sox fans, expressed doubts last May that he would be able to return to the field.
"I'm at a point right now where I need some time. That's what my status is," Pedroia said. "Some days, I feel fine, and an hour later, walking is tough. If I'm on an hour-to-hour basis of being able to do anything athletically, that's tough. I think the time will give me the right answer of if I can do this."
After the surgery, Pedroia's mindset shifted, and he indicated to the Red Sox that he hoped to return to the field and become an everyday player again. But news of his latest setback brings up the question of retirement, given that he is now three seasons removed from a fully healthy season, when he played 154 games for Boston in 2016.
Red Sox general manager Brian O'Halloran expressed optimism for Pedroia's return as recently as the GM meetings in November.
"He's been working out and doing well by his own account and we're going to talk to him and learn more," O'Halloran said. "I don't think anything specifically has changed. I think it's more that time has passed and he's been feeling better."
Pedroia is a four-time All-Star and American League Gold Glove winner. He was the AL MVP in 2008 and a key player for the World Series-winning teams in 2007 and 2013.