Pedroia Leads The Way

May 28, 2003

Paul Coro
The Arizona Republic

Like Dustin Pedroia's play and words, a story of the Arizona State shortstop's early baseball prowess is not for the faint of heart.

Pedroia was in diapers, trotting around at home with a bat like Bamm-Bamm. His father, Guy, had bought his sons a pair of Canada geese for Easter. They were in boxes under heat lamps when Dustin toddled by.

A goose popped his head out and, well, let's just say Dustin's hand-eye coordination with a bat was there early.

That knack for baseball has been on display for No. 5 ASU (50-12), whose NCAA regional starts Friday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The spunky, 5-foot-8 sophomore won the Pac-10 batting title (.418), set a Pac-10 record for doubles (32) and knocked in 49 runs from the leadoff spot. He can be his pitchers' best friend, snaring hit balls and firing them to first.

Pedroia became ASU's 10th player in 25 years to win Pac-10 Player of the Year on Tuesday. He is a co-POY with Stanford senior catcher Ryan Garko. Pedroia also repeated as the On Deck Circle's team MVP.

He has been a perfect fit in Tempe, from the talent ASU needed to a personality that mirrors coach Pat Murphy's.

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