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Pedroia to have right knee examined

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By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 9, 2011

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NEW YORK — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will return to Boston today to have his right knee examined and is facing the possibility of surgery that would sideline him for at least a month.

Pedroia was injured on the first play of the game May 16 when the Orioles’ Brian Roberts hit a ball off the chest of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Pedroia fielded the ball and landed on his knee. “I banged it hard and it has been bothering me ever since,’’ he said.

He described the procedure, which will be done at Massachusetts General Hospital, as a “needle with a camera on it’’ that will determine the extent of the damage. If necessary, Pedroia then would have the surgery immediately.

“It could keep me out a month,’’ he said after last night’s 11-6 victory against the Yankees. “It’s not what I want. But I have to get it checked out. It’s been bothering me a lot.’’

Pedroia said his lack of production at the plate — he is hitting .247 with a .338 on-base percentage — is attributable to his knee and surgically repaired left foot.

“It’s hard to hit with something wrong with your legs,’’ he said. “I’ve been trying.’’

If Pedroia is placed on the disabled list, the Sox could use Jed Lowrie at second base and Marco Scutaro at shortstop. Drew Sutton also has experience at second base.

Jenks back on DL
Bobby Jenks is returning to the disabled list, this time with a strained muscle in his back.

The righthanded reliever was taken out of Tuesday’s game against the Yankees after throwing four pitches. He said later that he expected the injury to knock him out for only a few days. Instead it will be at least 15.

Jenks has appeared in 15 games and has a 6.57 earned run average after signing a two-year, $12 million contract in December.

The Sox faced the Yankees with only six relievers last night as catcher Luis Exposito was recalled from Pawtucket to take the place of Jenks on the roster.

With Jarrod Saltalamacchia out with a stomach bug, the Sox needed a backup for Jason Varitek. Exposito, 24, was hitting only .223 with a .608 OPS, but is on the 40-man roster. He arrived approximately 45 minutes before first pitch, having traveled from Norfolk, Va.

“We have a lot going on right now,’’ manager Terry Francona said.

Saltalamacchia caught nine innings Tuesday and said afterward he felt nauseous. The Sox sent him to a hospital to be checked out yesterday, with one concern appendicitis, but he checked out OK.

“He was scuffling. He’s pretty sick,’’ Francona said.

After a slow start, Saltalamacchia has hit .292 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 14 games and become a steady presence behind the plate.

Lowrie cleared
Lowrie had an MRI on his sore left shoulder before the game and was out of the lineup for the second straight night.

According to a team source, the initial review of the test did not show any significant injury. But the Sox wanted to have the MRI more carefully examined. Lowrie eventually was cleared to play and may be in the lineup tonight.

“He’s available,’’ Francona said before the game. “I’d rather not [play him]. I want him to go play and be healthy and be able to swing it. I’m hoping one more night.’’

Tearing it up
Darnell McDonald went on the disabled list May 26 with a strained quadriceps then started a rehab assignment only five days later with Pawtucket.

He was 8 of 19 (.421) in his first five games with five extra-base hits, three walks, and 11 RBIs.

“He’s really done well,’’ Francona said. “It’s probably good for him. Through no fault of his own, he hasn’t played much because of the way our roster was set up.’’

McDonald is eligible to return to the roster tomorrow but it is uncertain what the Sox have planned for him given how little he was used earlier in the season. A rehab assignment can last as long as 20 days.

Yankees in flux
The Yankees made two roster moves before the game. Reliever Joba Chamberlain was placed on the 15-day DL with a forearm strain. He was replaced by righthander Jeff Marquez, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox.

Marquez was one of four players the Yankees traded to Chicago for Nick Swisher in 2008.

The Yankees also bolstered their bullpen by sending down rookie Hector Noesi, who threw six innings in relief Tuesday, and replacing him with righthander Amaury Sanit.

Jorge Posada was not available last night so he could attend to his son, 11-year-old Jorge III, following surgery. Starting catcher Russell Martin also was out with a sore back.

The one good bit of news was that first baseman Mark Teixeira returned a day after leaving the game after being hit on the right knee by a pitch from Jon Lester.

“I didn’t sleep great last night, but I woke up this morning and as soon as I started to move around, no problems,’’ he said. “It’s bruised up. It’s going to look nice for a while.’’

Morales improving
Remember Franklin Morales? The Sox traded for the lefthanded reliever May 19, he pitched in two games, and then he went on the disabled list with what was described as a forearm strain.

Morales threw a 35-pitch bullpen session at Fenway Park Monday before the team traveled to New York and threw again before the game last night.

Francona said Morales was close to being ready for a rehabilitation assignment.

Surgeries on tap
Matsuzaka will have Tommy John elbow surgery tomorrow in Los Angeles. Dr. Lewis Yocum will do the operation. Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill is scheduled for the same elbow surgery today in Pensacola, Fla. Dr. James Andrews will handle his procedure . . . First baseman Anthony Rizzo, one of the four players the Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez, will make his debut with the Padres tonight. Rizzo, 21, is hitting .365 with 16 home runs, 20 doubles, and 63 RBIs for Triple A Tucson. The Padres start a three-game series at Fenway June 20 . . . When Derek Jeter struck out swinging at a Tim Wakefield knuckleball in the third inning, it snapped a career-long stretch of 58 straight plate appearances without a strikeout.

Globe correspondent Nicole Auerbach contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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