BOSTON (CBS) – Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Tuesday night.

Pedroia will bat second and play second as Boston opens a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway.

Pedroia returns after missing the last six games after leaving Boston’s May 28 win over the Tigers. He was diagnosed with a slight tear in the adductor muscle in his right thumb, an injury he initially suffered on May 2, but has avoided a trip to the disabled list.

“I’m real excited,” Pedroia told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously it’s still healing, but if we protect it the right way I’m able to play while it heals up all the way.”

Stats: Red Sox Injuries

Pedroia resumed taking batting practice on Saturday and Sunday in Toronto, with the help of a specially designed brace, and did not report any problems on Boston’s off-day on Monday. Pedroia also switched the kind of bat he uses, opting not to use maple to lessen the impact on his hands.

Combine that with the brace, and some may be a little concerned there would be a getting-used-to period for Pedroia. But the former MVP isn’t too worried, and may have even found a new part to his routine.

“Hopefully this pad helps me out and who knows, I might wear it forever,” he said.

The Red Sox went 4-2 in Pedroia’s absence, and have won six of their last nine games. Never one to want to miss time, Pedroia is extremely anxious to get back to helping out his team add more wins in the standings.

“The team has been smoking,” he said. “Our pitching staff has been throwing the ball great, our bullpen has been unbelievable. We just have to continue to play good ball and we should avoid (a June slump).”

Read: Red Sox-Orioles Preview

Pedroia is batting .295 with five home runs and 21 RBI this season. He is a career 4-for-7 with a homer against Baltimore’s Tuesday starter Jason Hammel.


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