Over the past two Major League Baseball seasons, Dustin Pedroia has missed 216 out of a possible 324 regular-season games for the Boston Red Sox.
Sure, he earned a World Series ring last season – his third – but the 35-year-old second baseman didn’t really contribute much of anything to Boston’s championship run.
You can get that hurts Pedroia, who won Rookie of the Year in 2007 and was voted MVP the following year, far more than the lingering knee problems which have forced him to undergo four knee surgeries a 28-month span.
A four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, Pedroia has been working out at his home gym during the offseason, increasing his flexibility and taking thousands of rounds of batting practice. He has also dropped seven pounds to ease stress on his knee.
The Sox are planning to have the ex-star back this season and, if he can stay healthy, Pedroia has his sights set on another piece of hardware: the Comeback Player of the Year award.
“If I come back, and play the entire year, it will be proudest I’ve been of anything I’ve ever done in baseball,” Pedroia told USA TODAY Sports. “My teammates have seen what I’ve been through. They saw me having to fly to Vail during the World Series just to see another doctor. They saw all my ups and downs. There were a lot of tough times.”
Pedroia will turn 36 in August and still has $40 million remaining on a contract that runs through 2021.