Terry Francona wants only the best for one of his favorite former players, Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia has played in only nine games with the Boston Red Sox the past two seasons due to a nagging left knee injury. He underwent his fifth knee surgery -- a joint preservation procedure -- prior to the 2019 season, but his comeback attempt again came to an abrupt end in April.
The veteran second baseman's inability to stay on the field has plenty wondering whether we've seen the last of him as a player. Pedroia likely will give it another shot in 2020, but the last couple of years haven't exactly inspired much optimism.
Francona, Pedroia's manager on the Red Sox from 2006-11, offered thoughts on the veteran second baseman's future Wednesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria."
"For his sake, I hope he goes out however he wants to," Francona said. "I mean, he deserves that. If he wants to play, bless his heart. I hope he doesn't hurt himself.
"But like I said, you know, he's so competitive and if he feels the fire that he wants to try to play, good for him. But I hope he doesn't hurt himself 'cause he's given so much of his body that you can see there's not much left. He's such a special kid. He's so good for the game."
Francona knows as well as anyone it'll be hard to keep Pedroia off the field. But it may be time for the former American League MVP to take a step back and realize that putting himself at risk of re-injury simply isn't worth it at this point in his career.
Pedroia is set to make about $26 million over the final two years of his Red Sox contract. With Alex Cora out as Sox manager, Pedroia's name has been thrown into the mix as an internal candidate to replace him due to his leadership and strong relationship with fellow players.