BOSTON — The trainers know. So do the manager, general manager, owners, teammates and presumably his wife, Kelli. Somehow, Dustin Pedroia swears them all to secrecy. If he won’t tell you he’s hurt, they sure as hell won’t, either.

That has been an operating principle ever since Pedroia first strutted into the Boston Red Sox clubhouse in 2006, and there have been rare deviations since. Pedroia was ticked off a year ago last May when the Boston Herald first got wind that his thumb injury was serious, and the closest he came to admitting that his wrist injury this spring was an ongoing issue is when a reporter framed it in terms of not whether he was injured, but how much better he would be if he was healthy.

It’s only when the club has to admit he needs surgery that the rest of the world learns what Pedroia plays through. In 2013, he played in 160 regular-season games, then 16 more in the postseason, with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb that was surgically repaired after the season. Check the archives; other players with such injuries almost invariably have surgery immediately.

This past season, Pedroia injured his wrist in the home opener, then played in 133 games before the Sox finally acknowledged he needed another operation and had to be shut down.

He has had procedures done on his hands in each of the last three seasons, and they have taken a toll on his offensive production. Some have questioned whether he will ever become the dominant force he once was. Others, like third-base coach Brian Butterfield, call Pedroia the toughest player they’ve ever seen and suggest you wait to see him back at full strength next spring before you rush to judgment.

The question the Sox cannot answer with …read more