Boston Red Sox

Alex Cora shows respect for Red Sox veteran Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia missed nearly all of Boston’s incredible 2018 championship season, but manager Alex Cora has decided to give him the leadoff spot for the team’s 2019 home opener.

It feels like it has been a long time since Red Sox fans have seen Dustin Pedroia, who has been the team’s primary second baseman for over a decade.

Pedroia, a former Rookie of the Year and MVP, is the longest tenured member of the Red Sox, who just won the World Series with Pedroia shelved for most of the year, minus a couple of games.

Ever since the retirement of David Ortiz following the 2016 season, Pedroia has basically been considered the face of the Red Sox. Only problem is, he really hasn’t been on the field much.

But as a show of respect for Boston’s longtime second baseman — a guy who will be remembered very fondly in New England long after his career is over — manager Alex Cora has decided to bat Pedroia in the lead off spot for the team’s opener at Fenway Park.

Pedroia had to sit and watch for most of the regular season and for the entire postseason, the first time in his career that he hasn’t been a central figure on a World Series-winning Red Sox team.

He had to sit and observe while his teammates did all the work to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Boston.

For him, it will mean a lot to be able to receive that first at-bat of the season. He’ll get to soak in the roaring ovation he’ll get from the Boston crowd as he makes his way to the plate, and for the first time in a while, he will get to be the center of attention at Fenway Park.

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Obviously, it will only be for one game. Mookie Betts is this team’s leadoff hitter, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. That No. 1 spot will always belong to him.

But for one day, it will be neat to see Pedroia get this respect that he’s earned.

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