Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia suggested Friday that undergoing knee surgery after the 2017 season was a mistake.
According to ESPN.com's David Schoenfield, Pedroia would have done things differently given the benefit of hindsight: "No, I wouldn't have done it. I don't regret doing it, but looking back and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done it."
As a result of the surgery, Pedroia missed the first two months of the 2018 season. He returned in May but appeared in just three games before getting shut down for the remainder of the campaign.
The surgery Pedroia underwent was a cartilage restoration in his left knee. It involved taking cartilage from a cadaver and grafting it inside his knee.
Pedroia acknowledged he wasn't aware of everything the surgery entailed: "It's a complicated surgery. The cartilage in my knee is great now, but the graft is the thing. You're putting somebody else's bone in your body. To get that to incorporate fully, there are so many things that, going into it, I didn't know all that stuff. I thought, 'They were like, you tore this, we can fix it. Great.'"
Rather than undergoing surgery, Pedroia had the option of rehabbing the injury. Looking back, Pedroia feels as though he may have tried to come back too soon: "I think the difference was last year everyone wanted me to come back better than I was before, instead of just coming back. I might have pushed it too hard or done too much, but as far as following directions, I followed every step. I think some of the directions were, timing wise, a little off."
The 35-year-old Pedroia is a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner and one-time American League MVP who is set to enter his 14th MLB season.
Prior to playing just three games in 2018, Pedroia was highly productive in 2017 despite playing through knee pain. He hit .293 to go along with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 105 games.
While Pedroia hasn't been an All-Star since 2013, he is a reliable presence in the field and at the plate when healthy.
For his career, Pedroia is a .300 hitter with 140 homers, 724 RBI, 921 runs scored and 138 stolen bases.
With regard to his status entering 2019, Pedroia made it clear he's healthy and ready to go, but he also stressed the importance of not pushing himself too hard: "I don't have any restrictions. I just have to be smart. I don't need to take a hundred groundballs. I need to take the amount that gets me ready for the game and then stop. Just limit the time on my feet and make sure I'm always staying on top of things to keep me healthy."
En route to winning the World Series last season, Boston primarily utilized Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt at second base.
With Pedroia coming back, the Red Sox will be able to use Nunez and Holt in utility roles, but they also don't have to overwork Pedroia due to the fact that they have plenty of middle infield depth.