Boston, MA– It's safe to say that the Boston Red Sox are not the dominant steamrollers in this year's Grapefruit League spring training sessions that they were last year. Winning the Grapefruit League last year, Boston now finds themselves sitting at a record of 6-7 and on a three-game losing streak. Obviously, it would also be more reassuring to see them sitting at 10-3 or better, but it is just spring training, and the roster is getting back into the swing of things with many of the top Red Sox not playing full games yet.

That doesn't mean that the Red Sox have not been preparing for the 2019 season, as evidenced by their patchwork bullpen as they work through what is definitely their Achilles heel at this point of the off-season and in giving shots to younger players like Michael Chavis, the young third baseman with four home runs during spring training so far.

One of the biggest points of Red Sox preparation comes in the form of Dustin Pedroia's return to the field. A member of the Red Sox since 2006, Pedroia is the longest tenured player on the roster, a three-time World Series champion, a former MVP and Rookie of the Year, one of the best defensive second baseman of all-time, and so much more. When last fully healthy, Pedroia narrowly missed two hundred hits in a season and batted over .300. To throw him into the dominant championship Red Sox lineup is a trump card Boston is happy to have. But it's important to make sure Pedroia is healthy after a nagging knee injury sidelined him to a mentor role in all but three games last year.

It's not easy for Pedroia to watch his team from the bench, but he played his role as the guy who's been there before, performed perfectly, and helped lead the team to glory. Now in the off-season, many players, including Brock Holt, have remarked about how eager Pedroia is to get back on the field.

Boston lost to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 12-1 yesterday, but a big win came in Pedroia's first meaningful in-game action in almost a year. He played just one inning, but recorded a hit and a run in the effort. It's a baby step on the road to recovery, but promising nonetheless. He led the infield onto the diamond yesterday and he will hopefully be able to do so all throughout 2019.

Photo via Wikimedia by Keith Allison