Dustin Pedroia hitting .383 with 1.177 OPS in last 35 games

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Dustin Pedroia delivered the marathon-deciding hit in Sunday night’s exhausting 1-0 victory over the Rays and then came back yesterday with another game-winning hit against the Orioles, continuing an incredible run for the Red Sox second baseman.

Pedroia’s season totals are arguably the best of his career, but his outstanding overall numbers include a modest .239 batting average and .639 OPS through 56 games. Something clicked for Pedroia around early June and since then he’s hit .383 with a 1.177 OPS in 35 games.

During that 35-game stretch he’s produced 54 hits and 28 walks for a .452 on-base percentage, smacked nine homers and 15 doubles in 141 at-bats, and scored or driven in 64 runs. Oh, and the Red Sox have gone 25-10 to take over the AL East lead.

That’s a helluva Laser Show and Pedroia is now a legitimate candidate for his second MVP award, which is pretty remarkable considering the worries surrounding his performance and health through two months.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.