Red Sox look for boost from Pedroia's return

Red Sox look for boost from Pedroia's return

KANSAS CITY -- After sitting a few days with left knee inflammation, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia returned in Saturday night's 7-4 loss to the Royals.

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Pedroia went 0-for-5, but he managed a groundout that scored Mookie Betts in the top of the fifth.

Pedroia missed the previous two games and three of the last four, but he was seen on Friday taking batting practice at Kauffman Stadium.

"As well as Dustin's been hitting, we certainly want him in the top of the lineup, top three guys," manager John Farrell said prior to the game. "With Mookie [Betts] and Brock [Holt] getting on base, I feel like we've got a chance to have some action in the top three guys."

Farrell added that he saw encouraging things from Pedroia's at-bats since moving him out of the leadoff spot at the end of May.

"Even when he wasn't having much to show for the efforts, there was still some hard contact mixed in," Farrell said. "Of late, we're seeing him with some two-strike base hits the other way with some hard contact."

Pedroia just seemed happy to be back, smiling in the dugout before batting practice on Saturday, giving autographs to fans and telling them he feels "great."

"He embodies everything that we value in a player," Farrell said. "The way he plays the game, the all-out competitiveness that he brings day-in and day-out, the respect for the game that he demonstrates always, and he's even taken on a greater leadership role this year."

Bogaerts gets break
Xander Bogaerts was out of the lineup on Saturday simply for a scheduled day off, Farrell said.

"He's gone, I think, 28 consecutive," Farrell said. "It starts to build up on him."

Bogaerts' last complete off-day was on May 13 against Oakland -- a span of 36 games. He is batting .310 (22-for-71) in June with 10 RBIs.

Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.