Pedroia returns to Sox lineup on Friday
Second baseman will get two at-bats against Pirates
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Red Sox will welcome Dustin Pedroia back to their lineup for Friday's home game against the Pirates, marking the first time the reigning American League Most Valuable Player has played in a Grapefruit League contest since March 1.
Pedroia had been playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic before a lower left abdominal strain forced him out of the tournament on March 14.
The second baseman took batting practice on Friday, and manager Terry Francona said that Pedroia will get two at-bats against the Pirates.
"He'll take BP Saturday and then maybe get three at-bats on Sunday. He's doing fine," Francona said.
It has been a quick recovery for Pedroia, particularly considering the initial fear that his injury was to the oblique.
"After the initial relief, once he started getting back into what he was doing, we thought he was going to be OK," Francona said. "I think when he first came back, we were all kind of holding our breath a little bit."
Short hops: Bench coach Brad Mills will manage the Red Sox on Friday so that Francona can attend his son Nick's graduation from Officer's Candidate School in Quantico, Va. ... Left-hander Javier Lopez, who pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, will get some work in Friday's game. ... David Ortiz wanted to play in Thursday night's game, but the Reds did not allow the Red Sox to use the designated hitter. ... Shortstop Jed Lowrie will finally get a road trip off on Saturday, when the Red Sox go to Jupiter to play the Marlins.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.