The Boston Herald let out that Dustin Pedroia, the star second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, has been playing through a torn ligament in his hand. Despite the injury, suffered on Opening Day, Pedroia has played in all 53 of the team's games and is hitting over .300, an increase over last season.
The ligament, a torn UCL—which is not the same UCL as is replaced in Tommy John elbow reconstruction—was injured on Opening Day. Of all things, Pedroia injured the thumb on a dive into first base. It's yet another reason never to do that.
The Herald reports that Pedroia's thumb was swollen and discolored at the time, though there is still some consideration as to whether this was a pre-existing injury that was exacerbated by the dive, rather than a completely new injury. Pedroia did have a broken finger last year that he played through as well.
Pedroia met with team doctors but elected not to have surgery. With the ligament completely detached, surgery may be necessary after the season, but there is no further damage to do to the UCL. The hand is at risk for further damage, but that is easily checked by bracing or tape.
Pedroia is showing no signs of problem, and the location is keeping this from being an issue at bat. His batting average is actually up 30 points over last season's, and his game log shows no sign of bat-control issues. Bat control is often the surest sign of a grip problem. Without a solid grip, a player is more likely to be unable to make the kind of fine changes necessary to track and hit a major league pitch.
Pedroia is showing good bat control, good power and has shown no problem in the field. While he will get the credit he deserved for playing through an injury, there's no sign that he's playing through pain or even a deficit.
Pedroia's work ethic will get him the love of the hardcore "dirt dogs" around baseball, but despite a torn ligament, it looks like the Red Sox have a normal Pedroia on their roster. There's no reason to think that will change through the 2013 season.