NEW YORK — You don’t need to be a scout to see that something is wrong with Dustin Pedroia this season. He is hitting .247/.361/.338 and it’s not getting better. There are times when is seems Terry Francona’s loyalty is all that keeps him hitting second.
Pedroia has struck out 39 times in 275 plate appearances, six fewer times than he did in 714 plate appearances in 2009. A guy who had 54 doubles in 2008 has nine with nearly 40 percent of the season gone.
It’s not his fault. He has a steel screw in his left foot and is now playing with what sounds like cartilage damage in his right knee, the result of a play on May 16. As the Globe reported last night, there’s a possibility that Pedroia could need surgery.
Again, we wrote that surgery is a possibility. That point, or perhaps the definition of that word, seems to be lost on some people. There’s also a possibility that the arthroscope pokes around and the decision is made not to have surgery.
But it doesn’t take a lot of smarts to figure out that something is wrong when the Red Sox pull their second baseman out of New York in the middle of the series against the Yankees and have him head home for a surgical procedure. The team is off on Monday. If this wasn’t serious, they could have waited. This decision was made before the game yesterday.
Pedroia is an adequate player as is. He fields his position well, he’s capable of a big hit and he can steal a base. But if his knee injury is not going to heal on its own — or worse, get worse — it might be best to get him taken care of now.
The Red Sox are a game up in the division, a long stretch of interleague games are coming up and they don’t get the Yankees again until August. The season is not going down the tubes if Pedroia misses a month. He’s hitting .247 with a .699 OPS. Marco Scutaro should be able to manage that and probably would better it.
Drew Sutton is around, too. Yamaico Navarro is on the DL in Pawtucket, last having played on May 3. It’s not ideal, but it’s workable.
The Phillies survived without Chase Utley. The Sox can survive without Pedroia.
The question could come down to whether you want 50 percent of Pedroia for four months and beyond or something a lot closer to 100 percent for three months and beyond.
Do you want a player who is ready for the postseason or staggering to the finish?
We should find out more in the next 24 hours.