Boston Red Sox: 5 Potential Dustin Pedroia Replacements
On the Memorial Day matchup against the Detroit Tigers, Pedroia exited the game after making a diving catch. Pedroia was held out of tonight's game against the Tigers with a jammed left thumb, according to the Boston Globe's Michael Vega.
According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox are still unsure of what to do with the sidelined second baseman.
Pedroia torn abductor muscle in thumb. Hopes to play through with splint and avoid DL. Team is still discussing DL.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) May 30, 2012
Losing Pedroia is a huge blow to the Red Sox, as they don't really have a true second baseman to replace him in the field or in the lineup.
Here are five potential replacements during Pedroia's absence, whether it be short term or long term.
Note: All statistics are through May 28.
2012 Statistics: .128/.286/.154, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R (Boston Red Sox, 25 G)
Nick Punto is the most logical replacement for Dustin Pedroia at second base. He's the only backup infielder on the roster and plays every infield position with the exception of first base. Punto has really played third base this season, only appearing twice this year at second base, and one of those was yesterday after Pedroia exited the game.
Punto would only be a short-term replacement until Boston could find a better solution. He has been atrocious at the plate this year and really doesn't seem like he's going to improve with more plate appearances. The Red Sox could get by with Punto at second base and in the lineup for a few games, but he's not a starting infielder anymore.
2012 Statistics: .265/.288/.459, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 29 R (Boston Red Sox, 47 G)
Mike Aviles has been the starting shortstop for the Red Sox all season and has yet to play another position in 2012. He's shown great range and has a strong enough arm to make deep throws. Over the course of his five-year career, he's played second base the second most behind shortstop. Aviles has been great hitting atop the Red Sox's lineup since Jacoby Ellsbury went out with an injury.
The only way I see Aviles moving to second base is if Boston decides to bring in, or call up, someone who really only can play shortstop. Boston needs to keep him in the lineup so if they do make a move, they'd have to play him at second base.
2012 Statistics: .269/.317/.317, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 23 R (Triple-A Pawtucket, 42 G)
This could be a stretch, but it's still a possibility depending on how long Dustin Pedroia is actually out for. Obviously, Jose Iglesias is a shortstop and the shortstop of the future, but he is capable of playing second base. Mike Aviles has played so well at shortstop this season that I'm unsure Boston would be willing to shift him around.
The issue with Iglesias is that even though he's improved his hitting this season in Triple-A Pawtucket, he's sat the last few games with a few bumps and bruises, according to the Providence Journal's Tim Britton. If he's healthy, he could be called up in the near future to shake up the Boston infield.
2012 Statistics: .252/.355/.439, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 21 R (Triple-A Pawtucket, 35 G)
Nate Spears is a utility infielder for Triple-A Pawtucket and has recently been playing third base since Will Middlebrooks has been playing with the Red Sox. He's never really gotten any playing time in the majors—just three games last season and four this year.
It's questionable if he can be an everyday second baseman in the majors, but Boston might have to take that risk. In my opinion, he's a lot like Nick Punto, only a better hitter. He'll do the bare minimum in the field and rarely produce offensively. He'd undoubtedly be hitting at the bottom of the lineup until Boston could find someone better.
2012 Statistics: .301/.321/.398, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R (Triple-A Pawtucket, 32 G)
Pedro Ciriaco was one of the highlights during spring training but just missed making the major league roster. He was one of Boston's best hitters during the spring, batting .419 in 26 games with one home run, eight RBI and 14 runs. He has had limited time in the majors, only appearing in 31 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last two seasons.
He's played second base the most this year for Triple-A Pawtucket and has kept his hot hitting alive through 32 games. Ciriaco is an exciting player who could be a nice replacement for Pedroia at second. A fan favorite during the spring, it would be interesting to see if the front office would give him a shot in the interim.