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It’s thumbs-up on Pedroia

Second baseman returns to lineup

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 6, 2012
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Dustin Pedroia promised over the weekend that he would play against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night. And there he was, back in the second spot of the Red Sox lineup and playing second base after missing six games with a muscle tear in his right thumb.

Pedroia was 0 for 3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly in an 8-6, 10-inning loss.

But before he wrote out the lineup, manager Bobby Valentine said he had a “heart-to-heart conversation’’ with Pedroia to make sure he was ready to go.

In 2010, Pedroia convinced the Red Sox he was able to play with a fractured left foot. He lasted two games, then needed surgery.

“It was just, ‘Tell me the truth. You’re not allowed to cross your fingers or any of that stuff,’ ’’ Valentine said. “He said he feels perfect. He has no reservations about doing everything that he has to do on the field.

“There’s no swelling, there’s no pain. There’s 100 percent green light from the training room.’’

Pedroia wore a small brace when he batted to keep his thumb from bending back and aggravating the adductor muscle he tore.

“My thumb was good,’’ Pedroia said. “I’ve just got to get used to the guard and get my timing back a little bit. Other than that I felt fine. My last few at-bats I felt more comfortable.’’

Matsuzaka ready?

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his sixth minor league rehab start Tuesday night, going 1 1/3 innings and throwing 40 pitches for Triple A Pawtucket against Indianapolis. The Red Sox had planned for him to go three innings.

“He didn’t have a very good performance tonight,’’ Valentine said.

Matsuzaka allowed a run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He had a rough first inning, allowing a run on two hits and two walks while throwing 31 pitches.

The Red Sox cut Matsuzaka short so that he would be available to start Saturday against Washington in place of Daniel Bard, who was demoted on Tuesday after a series of rocky performances.

Marrero excited

Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero, the Red Sox’ first pick in the amateur draft, spent his last two summers playing for Cotuit in the Cape Cod League and got to know the passion New Englanders have for sports.

“It’s a great vibe up there,’’ said Marrero, the 24th overall pick. “They all want to win and they want championships. Going up there and getting that feel for that at the Cape was awesome.

“All the people who come to the Cape games understand these players here are the future.

“It was pretty cool. I’m excited to be drafted by the Red Sox. It’s a great organization, and it’s really an honor.’’

Marrero, 21, is excited about getting a chance to play with Pedroia, an ASU alum.

“I met him a couple times, and it’s just awesome to have him as a guideline,’’ Marrero said. “He’s a great guy and a great one to follow. He’s a unique player. I’d like to put myself in his category.’’

Said Pedroia: “I’ve talked to him. He’s a good player and he can help us.’’

University of Florida lefthander Brian Johnson, the second pick by the Red Sox, is excited about focusing on pitching. He pitches and plays first base for the Gators, who are in the NCAA Super Regionals.

“I’ve never done that in my life,’’ Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to throwing and getting a regular routine.’’

The Red Sox selected 14 more players on the draft’s second day. The final 25 rounds will be today.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox took righthander Jamie Callahan (Dillon, S.C.); righthander Austin Maddox (Florida); righthander Tyler Buttrey (Charlotte, N.C.); righthander Mike Augliera (Binghamton); righthander Justin Haley (Fresno State); and righthander Kyle Kraus (Portland) from the second round to the seventh.

From there they selected first baseman Nate Minnich (Shepherd College); shortstop Mike Miller (Cal Poly); catcher James Watkins (Army); outfielder Jamal Martin (West Palm Beach, Fla.); shortstop Mike Myers (Silverado, Nev.); righthander Jeff Wendelken (Middle Georgia Junior College); lefthander Dylan Chavez (Mississippi); and righthander Carson Fulmer (Lakeland, Fla.). Watkins is the son of area scout Danny Watkins.

Injury updates

Carl Crawford took batting on the field for the first time since he started swinging a bat following his recovery from an elbow injury. “I’m doing OK,’’ he said. “It’s getting there.’’ . . . Andrew Bailey, who is coming back from thumb surgery, is set to throw from 120 feet Wednesday or Thursday . . . Jacoby Ellsbury, out since April with a shoulder injury, played catch from 90 feet and swung at balls on a tee for the first time . . . Cody Ross did his first baseball activities since fracturing his left foot. He played catch and took some swings . . . Outfielder Ryan Kalish had his minor league rehabilitation assignment shifted to Pawtucket. He was 2 for 2 with a home run, three walks, three RBIs, and a stolen base against Indianapolis.

Strasburg on way

Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg is set to face the Red Sox for the first time Friday. The celebrated righthander is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 65 innings. Scott Podsednik (0 for 4) and Marlon Byrd (1 for 3) have faced him before . . . Darnell McDonald was activated off the disabled list after missing 22 games with an oblique strain . . . Bench coach Tim Bogar coached third, with Jerry Royster attending his daughter’s graduation . . . David Ortiz leads the voting at designated hitter for the All-Star Game. Pedroia is third in the voting at second base. No other Red Sox player is in the top five . . . Mark Prior struck out five of the seven batters he faced for Pawtucket. He is trying to return to the majors for the first time since 2006.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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