Red Sox clubhouse missing big dose of Dustin Pedroia

Rob Bradford
February 27, 2020 - 6:56 am

FORT MYERS -- The locker sits in the most prominent spot in the Red Sox clubhouse, on the position player side at the end of the row of regulars. It was where David Ortiz set up shop for so many years and now Dustin Pedroia's name is attached to it.

It looks like any other, with a uniform hanging and various equipment littered throughout. That hasn't changed, and it won't.

But don't expect anything in the space to be touched. Pedroia hasn't been here and won't be any time soon.

The locker is a reminder of what is being missed in this well-meaning but undoubtedly much more subdued clubhouse. In this different world of the Red Sox this season, this has been one of the more noticeable alterations. 

"I was texting him the other day, checking on him. Just told him we missed him, getting in here early morning and him having him lit this place up already. As he calls it car-washing people. It’s little bit different not having him," said Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland, whose locker resides right next to Pedroia's. "He’s always been smooth with me. I will get it once or twice, but not every day like some guys. He is definitely missed."

The Red Sox have identified who will be replacing Pedroia at second base, locking in on Jose Peraza and Michael Chavis to most likely get the majority of repetitions at the position. But what they haven't done is find a solution to what the 36-year-old offers in that clubhouse.

While there are veterans and hold-overs, most of the position-player personalities aren't the wake-you-up-in-the-morning type. Moreland. Xander Bogaerts. Jackie Bradley Jr. J.D. Martinez. Christian Vazquez. In fact, the vibe is one dominated by the presence of younger and new participants, certainly more than in previous years. Take out Pedroia -- and really also Brock Holt and former manager Alex Cora -- and you are left with an evolving identity and decibel level.

"He was here doing this a lot longer than I have been here," Moreland said of Pedroia. "All these guys came up with him and realize his expectations and how he likes it to be done and how he is going to do it, day in and day out. Pedey set the mold how the game should be played here with all these guys from Day 1. It’s tough not having him here right now but at the same time they know he’s going to hold everybody accountable. He’s not but a phone call away. If something happens he’s going to find a way to let you know. He’s that kind of guy. He cares. He’s not here because he doesn’t want to be, I can tell you that.

"All these guys in here kind of have that blue-collar mentality when it comes to playing the game. We go out and do what we have to do to win. We’ve been that way since I’ve been here. I think that’s something Pedey probably put in place and it has just carried over. I think we will continue to do that, for sure. If I can help pass it along I will for sure."