Breaking news here from Toronto. Dustin Pedroia is on track to rejoin the Red Sox one week from today. The Laser Show is back on.
Pedroia had a successful workout at the Rogers Centre this afternoon, running at nearly full speed.
He will start running the bases tomorrow and is scheduled for an exam Friday back in Boston. If cleared, he would play rehab games on Saturday and Sunday and play for the Sox Tuesday at home against the Angels.
Terry Francona was almost gleeful when he spoke to reporters.
"He did great," the manager said after watching Pedroia's workout. "Today was by far the best day. It was one of those days when you kind of leap by bounds. I think we hoped that would be the case. Some days it's level and then you have a day like today. He kind of simulated coming out of the batter's box and then he's run straight. I'd say he was close to 100 percent speed-wise.
"There was no limp, there was no favoring it. He had that little burst. It was very exciting."
Pedroia ran in cleats, which also was significant given that he is coming back from a broken bone in his left foot. He later took grounders as well.
"I'm going to try and run the bases tomorrow," Pedroia said. "If I can do that and it doesn't hurt, then I'm going to do the same thing on Thursday and then I'm going to see the doctor [in Boston] and if he clears me to play, I'm going to play."
Pedroia, who last played on June 25, agreed with the idea that he would need a few minor league games before coming back.
"I don't even know if I'll play second or DH. Whatever they tell me to do, I'll play in those two games," he said. "Then we're off Monday and then I'll play Tuesday."
Triple A Pawtucket is home over the weekend and Double A Portland is on the road, so McCoy Stadium seems like the most likely spot for Pedroia to rehab.
Pedroia acknowledged that he may not have his usual speed and agility for the remainder of the season.
"I know the rest of the way is going to be tough," he said. "But we're at a point right now where we're trying to make a run and make it in the playoffs and trying to win the whole thing if we can. I know I'm not going to be as fast as I was earlier in the year but I can make that up in the offseason."
Pedroia said today was clearly his biggest step forward since the injury.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I feel like I could be out there, you know? I just hope when I wake up tomorrow it's not [swollen] and I take a step back. But I don't think it will be."
Pedroia said he has had no problems defensively, the biggest concern is how well he runs the bases. His cleats will have special padding and he'll wear a protective covering on his left foot when he's at the plate.
Pedroia has been playfully boasting for weeks about his rehab. But today he was genuinely pleased.
"It felt good. I was kind of surprised," he said. "A week ago I thought I was looking at September but I feel like I'm able to get in there."
In other injury news:
* Mike Cameron will take BP today.
* Hideki Okajima will start a throwing program today.
* Jason Varitek picked up the pace of his running. He is about 7-10 days behind Pedroia.
* Kevin Youkilis, out of action for the season with a thumb injury, is still on pain medication. He wants to be with the team in Texas but is being encouraged to wait until Tuesday.