For Dustin Pedroia, his 2018 World Series experience was defined by the impact he had not as a player, but as a de facto coach.
The veteran second baseman was limited to just three games in 2018 due to a recurring knee injury. The start of those issues began in April, 2017. The initial injury was the direct result of this slide from then-Orioles third baseman Manny Machado:
Pedroia played injured for the rest of 2017 before undergoing surgery in October of that year. Yet setbacks to his recovery left him out of the lineup for all but 11 at-bats in this year’s championship season.
During the World Series, Pedroia was asked if he’s still mad at Machado (who by then was playing for the Dodgers).
“What is this, high school?” Pedroia said. “I’m a [grown] man, dude. Come on. I’m just working hard to get healthy.”
Still, Pedroia recently admitted that he thinks about that 2017 play, given the ripple effect it’s had on his career.
“Yeah,” Pedrioa told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “I think about it all the time.”
And when Bradford asked if there’s been any contact with Machado since then, Pedroia had a terse response.
Still, the 35-year-old is proud of his role with the reigning champions. As he explained, being around the team allowed the rest of the Red Sox to benefit from his experience.
“I could help Raf [Devers] at third a little bit. I could talk to [Xander Bogaerts] more. I could talk to Mookie [Betts] more,” Pedroia told Bradford. “I could talk to the pitchers more. I talked to [Eduardo] Rodriguez a lot, just how to attack certain hitters. I talked to [Christian] Vazquez a lot. Mitch [Moreland] a lot. It was perfect for me if I couldn’t play and help us that way I know how important bench guys or veteran guys are. They can say one thing that can turn everything around for one guy because that has happened with me. Our manager did that for me. So I thought it was a perfect time for me to do that.”
As for his baseball future, Pedroia remains optimistic about overcoming the odds for a comeback in 2019.
“If anybody can do this, I can. That’s the way I’m sure our team is looking at it and that’s the way I’m looking at it too.”