PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Dustin Pedroia played much of 2012 in pain, due to a right thumb injury that never completely went away. He finished the year strong just the same, playing some of his best baseball over the season's final six weeks, but that doesn't mean he wasn't affected.
On Monday, a pain-free Pedroia hit the first of what could be quite a few 2013 home runs. In the first inning of the Red Sox's 6-3 loss to the Rays, he turned on an Alex Cobb offering and pummeled it well over the left-field wall at Charlotte Sports Park. The second baseman followed that with a hard line-drive out to right field in the sixth, and he came away from his second game of the spring feeling pretty pleased.
"It was good to hit a couple balls on the barrel," Pedroia said.
There's nothing worse for a hitter than an injury to his hands or wrists, so Pedroia is delighted not to be dealing with that issue anymore.
"It was painful [in 2012], Pedroia said. "I couldn't rest it. The vibration would keep hitting it every time I hit. It's a good feeling when you can just worry about having a good at-bat, rather than, if I get jammed, it's going to be the worst pain."
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.