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Pedroia to skip All-Star Game

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  July 12, 2009 11:06 AM

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Dustin Pedroia, voted by fans as the starting second baseman for the American League, will miss this year's All-Star Game in St. Louis to attend to his pregnant and hospitalized wife, Pedroia said in a statement released by the Red Sox.

Pedroia stressed about the decision all week. He consulted with manager Terry Francona, general manager Theo Epstein, and his wife, Kelli Pedroia.

"This was certainly not an easy decision," Pedroia said in the statement. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the game of baseball and for the All-Star Game and am incredibly honored that the fans voted me this years starting second baseman for the American League. I am disappointed that I will not be able to enjoy the amazing experience with the other All-Stars, especially with my Red Sox teammates, but it is important that I put my family first at this time."

Pedroia missed Monday's game against Oakland because his wife went into premature labor. Doctors were able to stabilize Kelli Pedroia, who is due at the end of August, and Dustin was back in the lineup Tuesday. He got the winning hit in Friday night's game and had two more hits Saturday. Since last Sunday, the day before Pedroia's wife went into the hospital, Pedroia is 13 for 27, perhaps the best stretch of his season.

"He always focuses," Francona said. "When he plays and gets on the field, he has an amazing ability to play the game. Regardless of what's going on, he's a good player. That's not going to take away from being a good player. I'm sure he's been thinking about other things at times. He's just a real good player."

Francona watched Pedroia struggle all week witht the decision, and yesterday he helped convince Pedroia his family should take precedence over the game.

"Real tough," Francona said. "Probably tougher than even people realize. Because of his character, he was really having a tough time. I hope when it came down to it, I actually hope I influenced him. I'm not taking credit, but I hope I did.

"Yesterday, I said, 'Pedey, look. What's the worst-case scenario if you don't go to the All-Star Game?' He said, 'Well, I'm mad.' I said, 'What's the worst-case scenario if you go and Kelli is not ... ' And he said, 'I can't go.'

"I think he has been stressing about it," Francona continued. "I think Kelli has been stressing about it. It's not something he took remotely lightly at all. I know it's the right decision. Because you can't predict the future, it's the only decision."

Pedroia admitted before Sunday's game against the Royals that he'd been thinking long and hard about the decision.

It was pretty tough, obviously Ive got to be with my wife right now, Pedroia said. Its more important. Obviously Im extremely honored to be selected by the fans. I wish I could be there, but I hope everybody understands.

Shes kind of the same right now, Pedroia said of his wife's condition. Thats one of the reasons I was hoping shed get better. Thats why I put it off to the last minute. But hopefully the next few days she gets better.

Pedroia also wished his replacement, Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays, the best of luck.

Im extremely excited for him I hope he enjoys the experience and has a great time, he said. Its awesome. Im pulling for the American league for sure.

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