BOSTON -- Now that Stephen Drew is coming back to Red Sox, there's plenty that has to happen before Drew is once again the team's starting shortstop.
A look at what lies ahead:
-- Once Drew takes a physical and officially signs his contract -- that could be as soon as Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest -- he will have to be placed on the 25-man roster immediately, since he signed a major-league deal.
-- The Red Sox will then have to place Drew on option waivers, and he must clear them through a period of 48 hours before he can be assigned to the minors to get some at-bats in preparation for rejoining the Red Sox.
Option waivers are similar to trade waivers. Should Drew be claimed by a team, the Red Sox would have the ability to pull Drew back. However, he could not then be sent to the minor leagues, forcing Drew to get his timing back at the major-league level . . . hardly an optimum scenario.
In general terms, teams generally don't claim players on option waivers as a courtesy. But it's not impossible that a team could bypass protocol, just to force the Red Sox' hand.
-- While Drew goes through option waivers, he must be on the 25-man roster. That means the Sox will likely play the equivalent of a man short for two games, though there's nothing prohibiting the Red Sox from playing Drew in an emergency.
The logical choice to come off the roster and return to Pawtucket to make room for Drew is Brock Holt, who has options and doesn't have to pass through waivers in order to be returned to Pawtucket.
-- Drew, of course, will need to go on the 40-man roster as soon as he signs the deal. The Red Sox currently sit at 39 on their 40-man roster, meaning he can be added without designating another player.
Should Drew clear option waivers and head to the minors to get some at-bats in, the Sox will need an infielder to replace Holt. It can't be Holt himself, since a player must wait 10 days before returning to the big leagues, unless an injury is involved. Drew isn't injured; he's going to the minor leagues to get ready to play.
Because Drew will take the last 40-man spot, it also means the Red Sox can't put Ryan Roberts back on the 40-man to call him up to return to Boston and play third base while Drew gets ready.
-- The most likely sceanrio would be to have Xander Bogaerts continue to play short with Garin Cecchini -- who's already on the 40-man roster -- coming up to play third base for a week to 10 days.
Still another option would be to bring up another player on the 40, move Bogaerts to third immediately and go with Jonathan Herrera at short as Drew gets ready.
But while Herrera is dependable defensively, he doesn't add much offensively and it's unlikely an already struggling offensive team would want to have him playing regularly for a week to 10 days.