Broken finger? No problem for Dustin Pedroia.
Despite being diagnosed one day earlier with an avulsion fracture of his left ring finger, Pedroia got medical clearance and talked his way into the last-place Boston Red Sox's lineup Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"I love playing, man. It's fun," Pedroia said. "I get to compete for two more games, and then I've got to sit around for six months and wait until I get to do it again. Why not? What else am I going to do? Go home and play football with my 3-year-old?"
Pedroia insisted Tuesday he felt more comfortable gripping and swinging a bat. And because doctors assured him he couldn't exacerbate the injury, why not help the Red Sox put up greater resistance to the New York Yankees' pursuit of the AL East title?
The plan wasn't entirely successful, as the Yankees rallied for a 4-3, 12-inning win.
In the first inning, Pedroia lined an RBI double to the gap in right-center that drove home Jacoby Ellsbury from first base.
Talk about setting a tone.
"How can you miss it?" manager Bobby Valentine said of Pedroia's impact. "Dustin always does more than you could ever expect anyone to do on a baseball field, whether it's when he's running to first or fielding a ball or mounting up for that day's activity. He's extraordinary. One of the guys said, 'Why is it so hard to figure out the right way and wrong way to do things? Why don't they just watch Dustin?' When the game begins, or in his pregame prep, Dustin's the model."
Nevertheless, Valentine still was surprised earlier in the day when he learned that Pedroia would be able to play.
"I fell off my bike. Literally," he said. "And I don't know why I was surprised."