Over the previous few days, Dustin Pedroia hadn't left a shred of doubt with anyone who asked that he would be ready to return to the Red Sox lineup by last night.

Still, manager Bobby Valentine wanted to double-check yesterday.

"The little heart-to-heart with Dustin was, 'Tell me the truth. You're not allowed to cross fingers, any of that stuff,'?" Valentine said. "He said he feels perfect. He has no reservations about doing anything he has to do out on the baseball field.