Pedroia: Knee is strong for deep playoff run

Pedroia: Knee is strong for deep playoff run

BOSTON -- After resting his troublesome left knee for two straight days, and three of the last four, Dustin Pedroia returned to the Red Sox's lineup on Wednesday and expressed confidence that he will hold up throughout the team's October run.

"I just didn't play a couple of days. We're trying to get to the point where we make a run at the end and a long playoff push," said Pedroia. "They're trying to get me to be out there for the whole time."

With two World Series rings in his possession already, Pedroia doesn't plan on being a part-time player in the quest for a third.

"It was always the plan when I came back in the first place, to make sure I'm out there in the playoffs and beyond," Pedroia said. "That's basically it. We're working really hard to do that."

Pedroia had his left knee operated on last offseason. He was on the disabled list with knee woes from July 29-Aug. 7, and again from Aug. 9-31.

Since his return, Red Sox manager John Farrell has carefully plotted Pedroia's playing time with the goal of saving as much as possible for October.

"Absolutely. That's what our goal was, to make sure I'm playing down the stretch and to be able to withstand however many innings or games are needed," said Pedroia. "We put the work in."

The Red Sox entered Wednesday with a magic number of three for clinching the American League East. The earlier they can clinch, the more rest Pedroia can get over the final weekend of the season.

Pedroia isn't the only key player the Red Sox are trying to get right before the postseason.

Right fielder Mookie Betts is dealing with inflammation in his left wrist, and he was out of the lineup for the second straight day on Wednesday, but could be available to pinch-hit.

Infielder Eduardo Nunez has played just one game since spraining the PCL in his right knee on Sept. 9, but he had a good work day on Wednesday coming just two days after he aggravated it.

"Today was a good day," said Farrell. "And followed by a day yesterday where he was strong in terms of the strengthening exercises, the rehab that he went through. We would hope that each day begins to progress with baseball activities and then we get him back on the field. So he threw today, he ran, he hit in the cage, so a positive day given the reaggravation the other night."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.