Dustin Pedroia making progress from concussion, expected to return Friday

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Dustin Pedroia suffered a concussion last Saturday when he took a forearm to the head in a collision with Rays infielder Logan Forsythe at second base, but Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that he’s expected to return tomorrow.

Pedroia dealt with dizziness and sleep problems initially and “didn’t feel quite right” when he tried to ramp up activities on Tuesday, but he was able to make it through his usual pre-game routine this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, including a full round of batting practice. He still has some hurdles to cross, but all signs point toward him being in the lineup for the start of a series against the Blue Jays in Fenway Park.

“We’ve got to get him one final medical exam tomorrow,” said John Farrell, “but at this point, things are looking like he’ll be on the field and in the lineup tomorrow.”

Pedroia, 31, is batting .280/.340/.379 with seven home runs and 51 RBI over 131 games this season. He’s still making contact as much as ever before, but he has struggled to rediscover his power since his thumb injury last year.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.