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Pedroia shrugs off captain role

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  February 22, 2012 10:51 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - With Jason Varitek unlikely to be walking through JetBlue Park doorways anytime soon unless it is to retire, Dustin Pedroia was asked about being a captain.

ďI donít even think about that stuff," he said. "Itís Day One for me. I just want to have a good practice and help the team."

Pedroia, who spent all of Tuesday shooting a Sullivan Tire commercial at JetBlue Park said "Iím excited to go play again. Last year the end was tough, but we have to regroup together and come out and play good baseball year long."

On new manager Bobby Valentine, Pedroia said, "I donít know, Iíve been here a day and half. Iíve met him a couple of times. From what I hear he is thinking about baseball nonstop and thinking about fundamentals and getting this team where it needs to be. Itís going to be exciting.Ē

On how the Sox can put last year behind them: ďPlay the game the right way. Thatís basically it. I donít have answers to what went on last year. Last year is over. It was tough. Thereís not a day that goes by that I donít think about it. You have to try to turn the page and not think about it and play well and play for your teammates."

On Ortiz: ďItís 100 degrees and he has a beanie on.Ē

On playing alongside a new shortstop: "Itís gonna be fine. Scut [Marco Scutaro] did a great job but we have Mike [Aviles] and Nick [Punto] step up and play good ball for us. Weíll be fine."

Regarding his offseason conditioning: ďI was trying to straight bodybuild, man. I hit cage bombs.Ē

On being at a camp without Terry Francona: ďItís different. Itís the only thing Iíve known. Things change. Itís tough to see him go, especially the way it ended. Heíll always be a close friend whatever he chooses to do forward, Iím pulling for him.Ē

On Jacoby Ellsbury: "He had an unbelievable year. We need him to do the same thing. I get on him all the time and tell him anybody can do it once. Heíll be fine. Heís motivated, trust me."

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