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Red Sox 2011 Second Base Preview: Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

We continue our week-long series of previews with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Unlike Gonzo, whose injury is slightly disquieting because it is a wear-and-tear thing and he is about to ink the aforementioned seven-year deal, Dustin Pedroia is coming off a broken foot, which shouldn’t give him any problems going forward. Pedroia’s numbers have remained fantastically consistent and they should only improve in this lineup. Batting between, presumably, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, he will hit over .300 with 15-17 homers and score about 110 runs while providing stellar defense at the keystone sack (I love that term).

It’s easy to forget Pedroia is only 26, his premature receding hairline notwithstanding. Many argue the importance of chemistry in baseball, a game made up largely of individual actions, but I feel it is paramount. Adding two key veteran pieces in Crawford and Gonzo, the leadership in the clubhouse and on the field that Pedroia provides will light the path for the new guys. The Sox, no doubt, want to indoctrinate the existing culture into the new guys rather than them felling like mercenaries. Pedroia will help with that.

Pedroia missed 87 games last year. He missed 13 games combined in 08-09. The Sox can count on 155 games from Petey, rendering his backup moot. Jed Lowrie (more on him later) will be the ostensible understudy but the playing time needed from him at second will be negligible.

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