08/06/08 8:46 PM ET
Pedroia gets rare night off
Second baseman rested by Francona against Royals
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
With Thursday's off-day for the team, Pedroia was set to get two days of rest before the Red Sox open a four-game series in Chicago on Friday.
And after that? Pedroia is ready to run the table.
"It will be nice for my body," said Pedroia. "I don't expect another one of these the rest of the year. I'll try to take advantage of it. Hopefully, I'll get in there later in the game and do something to help us win. I'll try to get some rest today and extra rest tomorrow, and for the [last 47 games], be ready to go."
Though Francona always believes in trying to give his everyday players a breather, he often struggles to find the right time to do so with Pedroia.
"It's not easy to do, because he's such a good player," Francona said. "I think with the day off tomorrow, it will be really good for him. He hasn't had one in a long time. Kind of had to fight myself to do it, but I think it's a good thing to do. It's been a long time since he's [missed] a game. I think this will be good for him."
Pedroia didn't even have an All-Star break, as he started for the American League.
The last Boston game that Pedroia didn't start was June 7 against the Mariners. Pedroia started 110 of the Red Sox's first 113 games before getting Wednesday's respite.
"He's playing great," Francona said. "He's a little beat up like everybody gets beat up. I just thought, with the day off tomorrow, this would do him a lot of good. We really don't want to give him a lot of days off. Put one where it will really do him some good."
Francona moved shortstop Jed Lowrie to the No. 2 spot in the order to replace Pedroia. Alex Cora filled in at second base and batted ninth.
It was the third time Lowrie has batted second this year.
"I don't want him to hit second for the whole season," said Francona. "I think he's done a great job. I [also] think that every time some young kid does a great job, New England either wants to put him in the Hall of Fame or hit him second. It's probably just not the right thing to do. Tonight, he'll probably be fine. I just don't think that's in his best interest right now."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.