BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia's much-anticipated return from the disabled list did not last long. Just three days after his activation, Boston's All-Star second baseman and best all-around player was placed back on the 15-day DL with recurring discomfort in his left foot.
Now, the Red Sox will try to stay afloat in the pennant race with their invaluable sparkplug again out for an indefinite period of time.
Will he be back once the 15-day DL stint has expired?
"I don't know. It's probably not fair to Pedey to say that," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "When it heals, he'll play. When he does play, we might have to not play him every day. If we can play him without risk to him hurting himself, we would love to do that. But not until [then]."
Pedroia fractured the navicular bone in his left foot on June 25 at San Francisco. He came back on Tuesday night and started back-to-back days and was originally in Thursday's lineup. But during batting practice before Thursday's game, Pedroia wasn't running well and was scratched.
The hope was that he would feel better when he woke up on Friday. Instead, Pedroia felt worse, and it was decided that a return to the DL was the best course of action.
"I'm going back on the DL. I'm not feeling very good," Pedroia said. "I played those two games and tried to do it, and then yesterday I couldn't do much and then today was a lot worse. They're backing me off and not letting me do anything."
Pedroia, however, wanted to emphasize that he hasn't done further damage to his foot. In fact, a CT scan taken by Boston's medical staff on Friday proved that. The foot is simply still healing.
"They did a scan, and while it showed really good healing, it also showed that there's still probably some healing to go," said Francona. "I think the layman's version is that they tried to impress upon him a lot that if it hurt, you better tell us, because then you're going to hurt yourself. He did that, and we give him some credit."
To replace Pedroia on the roster, the Red Sox selected the contract of Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Pawtucket. The 22-year-old Navarro hails from the Dominican Republic. He can play second base, shortstop and third. Jed Lowrie and Bill Hall are likely to get the majority of starts at second base while Pedroia is out.
Pedroia is confident he won't be shut down for the season.
"I don't think so," Pedroia said. "From what they told me, it's just not all the way healed, so it's going to hurt, so I'm still at risk for other things, so that's why they kind of shut me down. I've got to make sure I'm OK. If I hurt myself bad, it could not mess me up for next year, it could mess me up for my career. Hopefully I don't do that."
The Red Sox won't let him do that, which is why he is being shut down again.
"We appreciate him trying to play, because he's really good," said Francona. "At the same time, I know it's hard for good players to be honest, but if he goes out there and hurts it, then we're looking at something we don't want to look at, and that's a surgery and things like that. That's kind of where we are."
It was a tough pill for Pedroia to swallow, particularly considering how hard he worked to get back on the roster.
"I'm upset. I feel like I let everybody down," Pedroia said. "I can't really do much. I tried, so hopefully it heals up and I'll get back in there."
Pedroia expressed confidence that his teammates will be able to hold down the fort without him. The Red Sox entered Friday's game trailing the Yankees by 6 1/2 games in the American League East and 5 1/2 in the AL Wild Card standings.
"We'll be fine. Guys will step up," said Pedroia. "They have all year. I'm just one guy. Guys have gone down all year, and guys have been able to step up and help us win. We still have a great chance at getting to the playoffs and winning the whole thing."
Per usual, Francona did not let another impactful health setback alter his demeanor.
"You go as hard as you can as long as you can until they tell you to stop," Francona said. "Once you stop, then it's time to take a deep breath whether you win or lose. Not now -- that's not going to help."
The Red Sox, ravaged by injuries this season, already placed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (right leg infection) and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (fractured left ribs) on the DL and lost outfielder Mike Cameron for the season during this week alone.
Can the clubhouse continue to be unaffected by so many significant injuries?
"I don't think we have another choice," said Lowrie. "We're not just going to throw in the towel. We're just going to continue to go out there and be the professionals that we are and win ballgames."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.