Thursday, February 19, 2009

162 Games? Pedroia Has A Prayer

Good morning from sunny Fort Myers, where sunscreen is the hot commodity and the only snow reference is to the snowbirds that populate the minor league complex, hoping to get a glimpse, and occassional autograph, from their Red Sox heroes.

Sometimes the interaction gets very personal. Dustin Pedroia found this out the other day, when a friend of David Ortiz stopped Pedroia on his way back to the clubhouse after a day of drills. The friend had one simple mission: To offer a prayer for the defending AL MVP.

"He was like, 'I want to pray for you,'" Pedroia recounted this morning. "I’m like, 'OK dude.' He was like [bowing] and talking, for like five minutes. There’s fans everywhere and I’m looking around like, 'What the [heck] is going on here?' He goes, 'How do you feel?' I’m like, ‘About the same as before you started.’ But He’s on my side now."

Pedroia is hoping a little good fortune, along with another offseason of working out at Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz., could lead to playing in all 162 games this season. Only five players went the distance in 2008, with Pedroia playing in 157.

"I did a little bit more running," Pedroia said. "I conditioned six days a week, instead of two last year. I want to make sure my legs are even stronger than the year before. I want to play every game and make sure I’m not tired throughout the year. I think if you condition your body the right way, you can do that. It’s a long season, but if you take care of your body, you can play them all. It’s a big part of what I’m trying to do, is be consistent every day and help this team win games.”

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