A single, a walk. For Pedroia, a start

May, 8, 2011
BOSTON--In the 13 games from April 22 until he took the field Saturday against the Minnesota Twins, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had the worst average in the major leagues of anyone with at least 40 plate appearances.

Pedroia batted .113 in that stretch (6 for 53) with more strikeouts (15) than hits (6) and walks (7) combined, a slump that trumps anything he has ever dealt with since coming to the big leagues in 2007.

But Sox manager Terry Francona, who gave him Thursday off after he struck out a career-high four times in Wednesday's 13-inning marathon/monsoon against the Angels, has kept Pedroia in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He told reporters Saturday he has no plans of dropping him down in the order, a la Carl Crawford. Yes, he said, Pedroia is chasing breaking pitches out of the zone far more than he usually does, which then impacts his timing against the fastball, but Francona said he knows Pedroia well enough to know he'll come out of it. With Crawford, Francona has always been in the other dugout, so there's not that same level of awareness of how a player responds to a slump.

Pedroia had a single, walk and stolen base in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Twins, a sign that better days may be in the offing. But here's another reason why it's wasted energy to worry. You can easily form an All-Star team from the players who hit under the Mendoza line (.200) while Pedroia was hitting .113.

Here are some of the names (thanks to the stat tools at David Pinto's baseballmusings.com):
Adam Dunn (.119), Jorge Posada (.136), Nick Swisher (.140), Troy Tulowitzki (.149), Freddy Sanchez (.149), Brian Roberts (.160), Buster Posey (.163), Hanley Ramirez (.182), Magglio Ordonez (.185), Prince Fielder (.189), Alex Rodriguez (.196).

Trust the back of the baseball cards: Those guys won't stay in that neighborhood all summer. And neither will Pedroia. The Laser Show has been on hiatus, but will be coming soon to a ballpark near you.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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