Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine met with the media before Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers and offered little in the way of an update on second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s status, saying nothing had changed since the second baseman was diagnosed with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb, an injury he suffered about three weeks ago while batting.
“Probably that’s the case where we are; it’s day to day,” Valentine said.
Asked if Pedroia had begun taking any dry swings, Valentine said, “We don’t want him to, but he did yesterday before we told him not to.” Valentine smiled, wanly, adding with a touch of sarcasm, “He always obeys everything.”
Pedroia’s absence from the lineup and the team’s reluctance to make any kind of a roster move to account for its lack of middle infield depth on the bench seemed to leave Valentine in the precarious situation of having to make do without Pedroia.
“Well, he can play defense, but answering that: it’s not comfortable,” Valentine said, when asked if he was comfortable with not having a middle infielder on his bench for Wednesday night’s game. “We’re going to get through it. If I make the move late, and take one of my infielders out of the game, I’m really going to be painted into some corner.”
Asked if the team preferred to take a cautious approach with Pedroia, Valentine said, “We talked with Dustin this afternoon and there’s an absolute situation that’s in place and then we might start considering options, but we’re day to day.
Was it hard dealing with Pedroia because he was a player who tended to tell you he was fine when he’s not?
“Part of this situation is the swelling, the actual physical appearance of the injury,” Valentine said. “I think we can all see that. Then there’s the opinions of the medical staff and then there’s Dustin’s opinion, I guess. We take everything into consideration.”
Asked if one person would likely have the final say in the matter of whether Pedroia would go on the disabled list or not, Valentine said, “We’re going to let some higher beings make that decision. God hasn’t returned the phone call yet, but I’ve been promised he will.”
In other matters:
* Darnell McDonald, who has been on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique, was slated to do another rehab start in Triple A Pawtucket, but remained in Boston to work with the team’s trainers. “Darnell is pretty close, it looks like,” Valentine said. “He wanted to stay and work in the training room with our trainers, trying to get over that last hump. He took batting practice and looked pretty good. He’s pretty close.” Was he supposed to play at Pawtucket? “We thought he was, but they decided it would be better to get him better,” Valentine said. “Then, maybe once he gets absolutely 100 percent, maybe he’ll have a game or two, if he feels he needs it.”
* Valentine praised catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for turning “a big corner” the last couple of weeks. “In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen a player turn into an All-Star, an absolute player you can count on and who’s got it,” Valentine said. “He understands what’s needed out of him and he’s delivering it.
“His rapport with the pitchers has taken major steps in the right direction, I would say, in the last couple of weeks,” Valentine said.
Asked if he had more confidence in Saltalamacchia now than he did in March, Valentine was emphatic in his reply: “Yes. And he has more confidence in himself now than he did in March.”
* Valentine said it was a luxury being able to pencil in Daniel Nava’s name into the lineup on a consistent basis since his call-up from Pawtucket. “Daniel, his defense has been so good. He’s been playing the wall so well,” Valentine said. “His throws are so accurate. His jumps are so precise. He wouldn’t even have to be hitting, you would [still] want to put him out there, because that wasn’t the case in left field as some of us might recall. So we filled a big hole.”
As for his calm and measured approach on his momentous at-bat in the fourth innng of Tuesday night’s 6-3 win against the Tigers and ace pitcher Justin Verlander? One in which Nava handled a 100-mph fastball from the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner and most valuable player for a three-run double to left with a 3-2 count?
“That’s what you try to teach a player when the moment is intense; to slow it down. You keep hearing that,” Valentine said. “That you want to breathe and you want to not have things spin too quickly, which is the way it is with all of his at-bats. That at-bat didn’t look any different than any of his any other at-bats, which is damn phenomenal, I think.”