Dustin Pedroia

Finally healthy, Dustin Pedroia proclaims 'I'm not messing around'

Rob Bradford
March 02, 2015 - 4:45 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Dustin Pedroia seems pleased these days. The latest bit of good news was clubhouse manager Tommy McLaughlin presenting the second baseman with the stickers for the handle end of his bats. The excitement was only amped up upon seeing the stickers image that had a silhouette image of Sasquatch with the number "15" in the background. But the true elation for Pedroia is not having to show up each morning and get treatment, and then actually swinging a baseball bat with a confidence he hasn't had since 2011. "I feel normal," he said. "I can tell just picking up a bat my hand strength is back. That's the most important part to me. When you grab a bat, how does it feel? Can you manipulate where you want to hit the ball? It's all back. "I knew before I got here. You could tell. Balls come off the bat different. It sounds different. If I'm fooled and I'm out in front I had the strength to flip it the other way or still turn on it. Those are the things I couldn't do. ... My swing is normal. My follow through is normal. There's finish." The difference in the physical security was evident from his very first outside batting practice at Fenway South, when he purposely unloaded on the high left field wall on Field 2. "How did it look? I'm not messing around," Pedroia said regarding his initial BP salvo. The plan for recovery last year didn't work out. He didn't have his UCL (thumb) surgery until November, and then there was the natural recovery process. It all went really awry during the Red Sox'€™ first homestand when the thumb/wrist was aggravated, setting him back once again for an entire season. This time around, however, he got the "release" on his wrist in September, allowing for the kind of normal offseason that is evidently paying off in the early days of camp. "A lot of people say my UCL surgery since I played the whole year, it would take a year to feel normal. That's the waking up and not feeling stiff," he explained. '€œThey said it would take a while to get your hand strength back. And then I had the wrist. "At the end of October I woke up and I was like, 'Man, my thumb's not stiff. My strength is back.' It just took a year. ... I'm back to being normal. There are no issues." But while Pedroia is at peace with his current lot in life, there is still some bristling when it comes to the projection of his power. "I don't care. Numbers are numbers," said Pedroia, who hit a combined 16 home runs over the past two injury-plagued seasons. "We're here to win the World Series. I don't care about any of that. If people don't know that by now ... We won the World Series and I hit nine home runs and everyone said I lost my power. Well, I'll lose my power if I win the World Series. What is everyone's job here? Win. We don't give a crap about anything else."