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Pedroia’s injury considered minor

Terry Francona makes the call to remove Dustin Pedroia, who injured his left leg in the eighth inning when he rounded second base and fell awkwardly. Pedroia limped back to the dugout. Terry Francona makes the call to remove Dustin Pedroia, who injured his left leg in the eighth inning when he rounded second base and fell awkwardly. Pedroia limped back to the dugout. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / May 24, 2011

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CLEVELAND — For a few moments last night, the Red Sox thought they had lost Dustin Pedroia to a serious injury.

Pedroia slipped while rounding second base in the eighth inning of last night’s 3-2 loss against the Indians and fell face-first on the rain-soaked infield at Progressive Field.

Pedroia did not immediately try to get up. He struggled to his feet, then left the game escorted by a trainer, walking cautiously.

“We were all holding our breath a little bit when it happened,’’ manager Terry Francona said.

Indians team doctor Mark Schickendantz examined Pedroia and found no serious injury. Much like he did last month during a game in Anaheim, Pedroia had jarred his foot, which caused temporary numbness.

The condition is caused by a screw that was inserted in his foot last August to stabilize a broken bone. Pedroia is planning to have the screw removed after the season.

“When I do something like that, my leg goes kind of like a stinger like you get in football. It took a little while to get the feeling back in it,’’ he said. “Anaheim was perfect, I got the feeling back in a minute. It took five this time.’’

Francona said he planned to rest Pedroia tonight before this latest incident. The second baseman has started all but one game this season.

“It’s nice. I’m a little beat-up. I’ve got to manage some things. But I’ll be back in there the next day,’’ Pedroia said.

Staying grounded Jed Lowrie is one of the best shortstops in the American League. Jed Lowrie is one of the worst shortstops in the American League.

It’s all how you want to look at it.

Through Sunday’s games, Lowrie had the highest batting average (.319) and the fourth-highest OPS (.840) among AL shortstops. He also was fourth with 20 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits.

“Offensively he’s about as good as there is at the position. Gives you a great at-bat,’’ Francona said before the game. “Every at-bat is a professional at-bat. You make a mistake, he’ll get an extra-base hit.’’

But at the same time, Lowrie has the lowest fielding percentage (.943) among AL shortstops, the third-most errors with six, and the third-lowest ultimate zone rating, an advanced statistic that measures range, errors, and the ability to turn double plays.

Francona did not disagree with the notion that Lowrie has room to improve in the field.

“We have a tendency to see our warts,’’ he said. “But sometimes you can get lost in that. He’s a smart player; he’s very reliable. His foot speed is probably, that’s something that’s not the best. But he positions himself very well.’’

In defense of Lowrie’s defense, he played more innings at second base in 2010 (209) than he did at shortstop (176 2/3) and in spring training this season he spent nearly as much time at other positions (41 innings) as he did at short (52).

The Sox intended to use Lowrie off the bench. But he took the job from Marco Scutaro in mid-April and has held it since.

“I think when you’re playing different positions every day, you’re doing what you can to maintain your skills for each of them,’’ Lowrie said. “I’m always looking to get better. I think that’s part of being a baseball player; you’re never satisfied.

“I’ve always believed I’m a shortstop and always said that. I’m going to do everything I can to get better.’’

Some talent evaluators within the organization believe third base is Lowrie’s best position. He was primarily a second baseman at Stanford. But he has filled the need at shortstop well despite the occasional defensive lapse.

“He’s holding up playing every day. It’s been exciting,’’ Francona said. “He’s playing every day and bouncing back pretty well.’’

Jenks improved Bobby Jenks threw in the bullpen for the first time since going on the disabled list May 5 because of biceps tendinitis. He threw 25 pitches and will take the mound again tomorrow.

“Everything felt great. The biceps is back where it was a few weeks ago,’’ Jenks said.

Jenks spoke confidently of being activated near the end of the week once the team is in Detroit. But given that he last pitched on May 1 and had a 9.35 earned run average in the 11 games he appeared in, the Sox may want him to pitch in at least one minor league rehabilitation game.

Before being injured, Jenks believed he had corrected a flaw in his delivery that led to him getting hit so hard.

“Right now I feel very good about my mechanics because I did fix it,’’ he said. “It’s just a matter of going back out there and applying it now.’’

Away for now Injured starter Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to Japan instead of accompanying the team on its trip.

Matsuzaka will return to the United States later this month to have his elbow examined by Angels team physician Lewis Yocum. The Sox have diagnosed Matsuzaka as having a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor mass.

Yocum already has examined Matsuzaka’s MRI. Once he examines the pitcher in person, the parties could decide whether season-ending surgery is required.

Lackey’s turn John Lackey, who is on the DL because of a sore elbow, is scheduled to throw in the bullpen today. “We’ll kind of see how he does. I think he’d like to push as far as comfort allows,’’ Francona said. “It seems like he’s doing really well.’’ . . . Scutaro was doing agility drills on the field before batting practice but has not been cleared to hit as he recovers from a strained muscle on the left side of his rib cage. “We’re hoping by the end of the week. Can’t turn him loose until he doesn’t feel it and he still does,’’ Francona said . . . Count Francona among the injured. He has had his left knee drained several times in recent weeks . . . The start of last night’s game was delayed 61 minutes by rain. But it was a clear and balmy (compared with Boston) 73 degrees at first pitch.

Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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