Red Sox say not enough time for Dustin Pedroia to return in '18

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has been shut down for the rest of the 2018 season but is expected to be ready for next year, the team said.

"I'm excited going forward," said Pedroia, who returned to Fenway Park on Friday for the first time in two months. "It stinks I'm not going to be able to play."

Pedroia, 35, played only three games this season after undergoing a cartilage-restoration procedure on his left knee last October.

The surgery was expected to keep him out for approximately seven months. He returned to the lineup May 26 but was back on the disabled list June 2 with soreness in the knee.

"I don't look back and say we did anything wrong," Pedroia said. "I was cleared to play and feeling fine."

Pedroia underwent additional arthroscopic surgery on his knee in July to clear up scar tissue, making it three surgeries in 10 months. But he was still hoping he could play this season.

"We went through all the steps during the whole year, but we ran out of time," manager Alex Cora said. "We've got to take care of the individual. ... He's OK with the decision. ... He'll be ready for next year, no doubt about it."

Pedroia, a four-time All-Star and one-time MVP who has spent his entire career with Boston, will stay with the team through the season.

"It's tough not being able to help out the guys," Pedroia said. "But it's been great watching them and how great the year's been. We've done a lot of great things. It's that time of year where you're pushing to win the World Series.

"It'll be great to here and watch the guys try to accomplish that," he said.

Also Friday, Cora announced that Boston ace Chris Sale, who has been on the disabled list with shoulder problems, will be the "opener" on Tuesday. Sale will go two innings, with a 40-pitch maximum, and will then be replaced by Nathan Eovaldi.

Sale has had two stints on the DL in the past six weeks and has made only one start since July 27. He is 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 146 innings this season.

Cora said Sale will pitch every five days after the Tuesday start; he is slated to go three innings in his second start, then four innings, building up to six innings and 100 pitches in his last start.

Pedroia plans to keep working out in Boston and aims to help his teammates out in whatever capacity he can. He has been texting with them after big wins and to give pep talks to players struggling at the plate.

"I watched every pitch. I didn't miss anything," Pedroia said.

While he doesn't regret coming back in May, he's disappointed all of the rehab he's done didn't allow him to play more this season.

"I knew all along it would be tough. It's a surgery that requires time. And once you give it time you'll be fine," Pedroia said. "It's been 10 months since the first big surgery. So a lot of rehab and hard work and time put in. That's what I'm most upset about is you work that hard and you don't get a chance to do it.

"But looking at the big picture it's the right thing to do."

Pedroia said the ordeal hasn't been without mental ebbs and flows, however.

He said it wasn't until about "probably six weeks ago" that he felt like he would be in position to return as the type of player he was before the injury.

"You play the hand you're dealt and move on," Pedroia said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.