Sox recall infielder Pedroia to fill hole

Sox recall infielder Pedroia to fill hole

ANAHEIM -- The grade one oblique strain of shortstop Alex Gonzalez has given the Red Sox the chance to get a first-hand look at a potential key piece of their future.

Middle infielder Dustin Pedroia, viewed by most as the top position prospect in the organization, was summoned from Triple-A Pawtucket in time for Tuesday's game against the Angels, where he batted ninth and played shortstop.

Pedroia went 1-for-3, lacing a single in his second Major League at-bat. He is expected to start at second base on Wednesday.

Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 19.

To make his Major League debut possible, Pedroia caught a flight at 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning from Ottawa -- where the PawSox played a doubleheader Sunday -- connected in Chicago and caught a flight to Orange County's John Wayne Airport.

He was expecting that adrenaline would carry him through the night. A native of Sacramento, Calif., Pedroia was expecting plenty of family and friends on hand for his first Major League game.

"I flew like eight hours, but you don't need much sleep for this. I'm pretty excited about the whole deal," said Pedroia, who has rocketed through the farm system after being taken by the Red Sox with pick No. 65 in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

Pedroia, who turned 23 last week, has plenty of experience at second base and shortstop. He also has gotten some work at third in recent weeks. Pedroia is having a solid year at Pawtucket, hitting .305 with five homers and 50 RBIs.

"It's kind of been crazy," Pedroia said. "I started the year playing two games at short and one at second. Kind of the last three weeks, I think I played four or five games at third and a couple at second. I haven't played short in about two weeks. It will be fun."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona is looking forward to watching him play.

"Everybody that's had him said he's a player," Francona said. "That's the best way I can describe it. I know [Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson] is a believer. Everybody that's had him said he's a good player. I was looking forward to it this spring, but he got hurt right away so I didn't get a chance to see him. I'll look forward to it."

Pedroia spent most of Major League Spring Training with the Red Sox, but injured his left shoulder in the first exhibition game and didn't get into another game.

"Yeah, it was tough," Pedroia said. "My first swing, my shoulder kind of popped out. It was a learning experience for me. I got healthy and worked hard. I'm just happy for the opportunity."

Alex Cora, who had started the last four games at short in place of Gonzalez, also figures to get some playing time.

"Since we have this kid here, I'd like to see him play," Francona said. "I don't know if he's going to play every day over there. We'll see. I kind of told him the same thing. We'll play him. I just don't know if there's a formula for that or not."

Gonzalez thought he might be able to play again in a few days but he realized why the Red Sox, both reeling and banged up, could not afford to be a man short for any length of time.

"It's been bothering me," said Gonzalez. "It feels better, but it's still there and I can't swing hard or do anything. I can't do much. When you have something in your back, you use it for everything, running, fielding, hitting. Hopefully it will take a couple of days and I'll be ready for the last month."

Because of his diminutive stature and the way that he plays, Pedroia (5-foot-9, 180 pounds) often has been compared to Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein, a former farmhand of the Red Sox who was released by former general manager Dan Duquette.

"I'm 6-4, 250 pounds," quipped Pedroia. "No, I'm not very big, so I just have to do other things to make up for my size. Just play hard and do anything I can to help the team win."

Pedroia learned that he was on his way to the Red Sox following Monday's doubleheader in Ottawa.

"He took me out after my first two at-bats [of the first game] and I was just kind of like, 'That's weird,'" Pedroia said. "I didn't know what to think. Maybe I got traded or something. Then he didn't say anything after the first game, and I wasn't in the lineup in the second one, and he called me in afterwards and it was like 12:30 [a.m.] and he's like, 'you're going to the big leagues. Pack up and go have the time of your life.' Ever since then, it was hectic, I was calling my family and everybody. It's just been kind of hectic the last 24 hours."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.