BOSTON -- With a different bat and a brace on his right thumb, second baseman Dustin Pedroia returned to the Red Sox's lineup Tuesday night at Fenway Park against the Orioles.
Pedroia, who has a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb, had not played since May 28.
Pedroia went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but he delivered a run on a sacrifice fly in Boston's 8-6 loss in 10 innings.
Pedroia's said that his thumb felt fine. However, he joked that an overjoyed David Ortiz almost gave him an all new injury after Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game with a two-out, two-strike homer in the bottom of the ninth.
"My thumb was great. The only problem I had was when Salty hit the home run, David elbowed me in the face," Pedroia said. "I think he knocked me out. That hurt, man, but my thumb was good. I've just got to get used to the guard and getting my timing back a little bit. Other than that, I felt fine."
Pedroia felt more comfortable with the brace as the game went on.
"I'm just not used to it, but my last few at-bats I felt more comfortable," Pedroia said. "I was seeing the ball better, my timing was better, so build on that tomorrow and try to do something to help us."
How long does Pedroia anticipate wearing the brace?
"Hopefully [just] a few more weeks," he said. "Some balls got in on me and I didn't really feel it. We faced some pretty good pitching tonight and it was a good test for my thumb, but it was fine."
Pedroia's not using a maple bat in the meantime, because he said that lessens the force it puts on his hands. The brace was put together nearby at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
"They did a great job with it and they formed it to my bat," Pedroia said. "I'm using a little different model bat, not using maple so I don't have any impact on my hands. Making some switches and hopefully it works great."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.