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Alex Cora on D&K says Jackie Bradley Jr. won't be sent to minors when Dustin Pedroia returns

Alex Reimer
May 23, 2018 - 3:31 pm

Dustin Pedroia is expected to return to the Red Sox on Friday. The possibility of sending Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A to make room for Pedroia has been discussed, since JBJ has one minor league option remaining. 

But on “Dale & Keefe” Wednesday, manager Alex Cora put the kibosh on that speculation, pledging the team’s faith in Bradley as an everyday player. JBJ collected two hits Tuesday in Boston’s win over the Rays, but is still hitting .176 on the season. 

“He’s in a better athletic position. I don’t know if you guys watched the game yesterday, but there was no leg kick. It seemed like he was on time,” Cora said. “The first one, (C.J.) Cron, didn’t make the play. But then the second hit, he stayed up the middle, hands inside the ball, and hit it back towards the middle. Then the ground ball he hit to second base, that was a good stroke too. He walked Sunday at home, yesterday on the 3-2 count it was a 50-50 pitch, actually –– borderline up and away. The call went against him, but it seems like he’s seeing the ball a little bit better the last few days.”

Infielder Eduardo Nunez, who’s battled a knee injury since last season, also won’t be placed on the disabled list upon Pedroia’s return, per Cora. The skipper says he’ll make sure to give Pedroia plenty of rest, meaning Nunez will continue to have an important place on the team.

“We gotta make sure we keep (Pedroia) healthy throughout the season,” Cora said. “He’s going to a lot of off-days, but we’ve got to keep him fresh. Everyone saw where he was last year –– he was hurt –– and towards the end of the season he wasn’t performing. We want a good Dustin Pedroia, so we’ve got to make sure we keep him fresh and ready to go.”

Pedroia will join a lineup that’s second in the AL in runs scored. Mookie Betts is one of the big reasons why, with his league-leading home run, hits, doubles, batting average and OPS totals. Cora says he attributes Betts’ incredible success to his more aggressive approach at the plate.

“Approach-wise, he’s a lot different than last year,” Cora explained. “He was a very passive hitter. It’s not like he's swinging at the first pitch all of the time, but there’s intent in every pitch. He’s so disciplined, he stays away from bad pitches, but he’s ready to hit from the get-go. That’s something I didn’t see last year. We took advantage of that situation with him and other guys just to get ahead in the first two at-bats, and then be careful with the first pitch in the third one, because it was a pre-determine swing. We did a good job as the Houston Astros against him.”

 

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