BOSTON — If it’s October, it must mean Dustin Pedroia is having surgery to repair his latest injury.
This time, though, the Boston Red Sox second baseman won’t be fully recovered by the start of next season.
Pedroia underwent what the Red Sox described as a cartilage restoration procedure on his left knee Wednesday. The surgery, performed by Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, is expected to keep the 34-year-old from playing in games for approximately seven months, according to the team.
Pedroia dealt with a left knee injury all season, even after having arthroscopic surgery last October to fix a torn meniscus. He took two turns on the disabled list and played in only one game from July 28 through Sept. 1. In late July, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested Pedroia’s injury might be chronic.
“He has a bad knee that he’s going to have to watch and we’re going to have to watch for the rest of his career,” Dombrowski said at the time.
Pedroia is halfway through the eight-year, $110 million contract extension that he signed with the Red Sox in 2013. He will make $16 million next year, $15 million in 2019, $13 million in 2020 and $12 million in 2021.
Pedroia’s offensive production took a dip because of the knee injury. He batted .293 but started only 97 games at second base, his second-lowest total since 2010. He also notched only 19 doubles and seven homers, tied for his career lows in a full season, and a .760 OPS.
The Red Sox acquired utility infielder Eduardo Nunez a few days before the July 31 trade deadline in part to play second base in Pedroia’s absence. Once Pedroia returned in September, the Sox were careful to monitor his playing time. He started at second base on three consecutive days only once (Sept. 27-29) before the playoffs began.
Once the Red Sox were ousted from the division series by the Houston Astros, Pedroia said he planned to get multiple opinions on a course of treatment for his knee and noted that the recovery from surgery would be “a long time.” After consulting doctors in New York and Boston, he opted for surgery.
With Pedroia likely to be sidelined until at least May, utility infielder Brock Holt represents the Red Sox’s best internal option to play second base. Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin also are under club control for next season. Marco Hernandez is expected to be ready to play after missing most of this season due to shoulder surgery.
Nunez is eligible for free agency and likely will be seeking an opportunity to play every day. Other potential free-agent second basemen include Neil Walker, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips and Danny Espinosa.