Dustin Pedroia is ready to return to full strength after two injury-plagued seasons. (Getty Images)

Morning Fort: Dustin Pedroia arrives healthy, proclaims 'everyone's fired up and ready to go'

Mike Petraglia
February 21, 2015 - 4:52 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Dustin Pedroia has had enough of hand surgeries. He's also had enough of last place finishes. He and the Red Sox have proven the ability to overcome both over the last two seasons. He's hoping to repeat the comeback story again in 2015. Last September, Pedroia had season-ending surgery on his left wrist to relieve tendon pressure and remove scar tissue buildup. In Nov. 2013, after helping the Red Sox to a World Series title, the second baseman had UCL surgery on his left thumb. Pedroia suffered an initial thumb injury on a head-first slide into first base on opening day at Yankee Stadium in 2013. In last year's home opener against the Brewers, Pedroia slid head-first into second base and re-injured the hand. Pedroia said Saturday morning upon arriving at JetBlue Park that he's all set and ready to go, with no restrictions. "Yeah, I feel great," Pedroia said. "I'm ready to go. I'm excited. It's fun. Getting back to work. It's a new year. Everyone's excited so it should be fun." As for his offseason? "Lifted weights. Got ready, man," Pedroia said. "Same as every other offseason except the last couple I've had to deal with surgeries and stuff. I got this one done quick so I was able to have a normal offseason of lifting weights and conditioning and all that stuff. I'm ready to go." As for his team, Pedroia is well aware of the worst-to-first-to-worst trend from 2012 through 2014. Now, with a rebuilt starting rotation and the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, there are great expectations again after a 71-91 finish last year. And Pedroia shares that optimism. "Yeah, we've obviously done it before. But you have to take it one day [at a time]. We have to worry about today's practice and go out there and try to get better today," Pedroia said. "You can't look at the big picture. If you do the right things every day, at the end you'll be where you're at. "We made a lot of great moves. Obviously, we have a very talented group. It's our job to form it together and play together. Everyone's excited and ready to play baseball. It was kind of a long winter. Everyone's fired up and ready to go." Pedroia told WEEI's MFB back in November that he has a lot of "IOUs" to hand out this season. He was asked about that on Saturday. "I'm just ready to play. I'm healthy and excited to go do what I do," Pedroia said. "Just put the work in. Don't go through the motions out here. This is a time where you can get better, form that team bond because we're going to be together every day for the next eight months, or whatever it is, so we have to find a way to figure out what makes our team tick and go play from the start. If you start well, it continues, it snowballs and [we] want to make sure we do that." Here were some other takeaways from Saturday: On whether the team is out to prove something: "We have a lot of new guys. For some of those guys, they weren't around for that. I always think every year's different. You're always going to have new guys in and out so you've got to form that bond together and start playing well together. There's a lot of different guys here so we've got to figure it out early." On team building identity: "You've got to build your identity as a team. It doesn't matter what you're doing, if it's running the bases, taking ground balls, you have to do it with a purpose. That's how you have to practice if you're going to be the team that going to end up winning the whole thing." On the team putting the work in now: "I don't think teams that show up to spring training go through the motions and not execute and do what they're supposed to do. If they kind of do it half-you-know-what, that's probably not going to work out for them. So, we've got to make sure we pay attention to the details and go to work. This is work. We want to make sure we're good at the end." On 2014 and what went wrong: "We did [find identity]. We didn't play well. That was basically it. You try to think back on what you could've done and all that stuff. We didn't play well. We did the right things but results just weren't there." On losing Jon Lester: "Yeah, he's a big loss. He's pitched some huge games for us. I got to know him real well. He was one of those guys you never really had to worry about. You knew what he was going to do coming into each season. Reliable but we're going to have to find other guys to step up and fill that role that he filled." On the rule changes to pick up the pace of game: "I don't know. My kids go to bed at 8 so I'm not in a rush. You know what I mean. I don't make the rules. I don't break them. That's kind of where I'm at." Attendance report: While Pablo Sandoval was challenging a photographer to a workout Saturday, most everyone was already in camp with the team. The three notable exceptions were slugger David Ortiz and outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig. Speedster Quintin Berry arrived Saturday afternoon, lugging his Red Sox baggage with him, along with an old Orioles duffel from his days in the Baltimore organization. Pitchers and catchers workout Day 1: With temperatures breaking 60 degrees, three of the projected starting pitchers were scheduled to throw bullpens Saturday on the first day of workouts. Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz and Wade Miley. Closer Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow and Brandon Workman were also set to throw their bullpens on Saturday. Many of the pitchers have already been throwing bullpen sessions prior to Saturday's first formal workout. Catchers were also taking full batting batting practice while Saturday also marked the first pitcher's fielding practice. The pitchers and catchers also worked on controlling the running game, fielding bunts, comebackers and covering first base. Workouts begin at 10 a.m. and are expected to conclude by 11:30.

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