Red Sox 'excited' to have Drew

Red Sox 'excited' to have Drew
December 27, 2012, 12:50 am
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The Red Sox announced the signing of shortstop Stephen Drew on Wednesday afternoon, after the two sides had agreed to a one-year, 9.5 million deal last week. Drew, who turns 30 in March, is the younger brother of former Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. He was a first-round (15th overall) pick of the Diamondbacks  in 2004 out of Florida State. In seven big league seasons, he is a career .265 hitter, with a .328 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage. He has a career .978 fielding percentage. Drew was limited to a total of 159 games in 2011-2012 after breaking his ankle on July 20, 2011, when he was thrown out sliding into the plate against the Brewers. He did not get back onto the field until June 27. In 2012, Drew appeared in a combined 79 games between Arizona and Oakland, which acquired him in a trade Aug. 20. He hit .223, with a .309 on-base percentage, and .348 slugging percentage, all career lows.  In 75 games at shortstop, he posted a .972 fielding percentage, also a career low, off his .978 career average and .984 career best in 2010. Drew had a career-worst 0-for-22 streak at the plate between the Diamondbacks and As. The 79 games were the fewest in his career for a full season, behind only 59 in 2006 when he made his big league debut July 15. The Sox are confident Drew, with a fully recovered ankle, will help the team. He was one of the better every day shortstops in baseball for quite a stretch there and then he had the ankle fracture that he suffered in 2011 and it took the full year to get back out playing, which is understandable. Its a really, really difficult injury, said Sox assistant general manager Brian OHalloran, filling in for general manager Ben Cherington on a Wednesday afternoon conference call. But he played well down the stretch and you saw him helping Oakland in their stretch drive and in the playoffs after the trade. We brought him in for a physical exam and our folks are very pleased with his progress. Its obvious to them how hard he had worked, given the nature of that injury, how hard he had worked to strengthen it and we feel that hes going to be fully healthy for us. Its going to make us a better team. Were excited to have him.
He didnt have spectacular numbers in 2012, but hes going to do the job at shortstop, said one scout when the deal was first reported.  Hes going to be an everyday, make-the-play type of guy. Nothing sensational. I think the big question with him is his bat going to come back. Drew is a left-handed hitter, giving the Sox some more balance to a lineup that was becoming predominantly right-handed. I think with the wall there, he can go the other way, he can take the ball the other way, said the scout.  To a left-handed hitter that wall, that can make guys, if they know how to go the other way with a pitch, that can add 20-30 points to their normal average.  And you dont have to be a power guy to play wall ball. I think hell do fine. He can catch the ball. He can throw it across the infield. Hes a left-handed hitter whos had an average offensive production-type career, and he can take the ball the other way.  So, I think thats a good bet that hes going to have a good year. Stephen Drew will wear No. 7, just as J.D. Drew did in his tenure with the Sox.