By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- J.D. Drew, on the DL since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement, said before Thursdays game his shoulder has been bothering him for quite a while, as far back as spring training, and that he has had several injections to deal with the problem in his left rotator cuff. His priority now is to get some strength back in the area.
Shoulders been nagging for quite a while," he said. Everythings coming along. Just trying to get some strength to get back in there. Impingement, irritation, tendinitis, whatever you want to call it, over a period of time its just gotten weaker and weaker, creating some bad habits. Just trying to battle through it, get some strength in there and see where we go from there.
Ive had a couple of injections this year but were trying to let this last one I had about a week ago take effect. In the meantime, Im doing some strengthening work.
In the final year of a five-year, 70 million contract with the Red Sox, Drew is batting .219 with four home runs and 21 RBI. He has never gotten onto a hot streak this season as he had in past years, bothered by the shoulder since the start of the season.
I think I had some of the effects in spring training, first month of the season, he said. Ive felt it for a while but its one of those things thats slowly, gradually taking some strength out of that shoulder, which is causing some bad habits and it got to a point where the discussion with the training staff trying to figure out what direction we need to go to get some strength back in my shoulder without continually tearing it down at the same time.
We made the decision to not really continue to swing for a while. The DL was the obvious option.
Drew is confident, however, that he will play again this season.
Yeah, I think so, he said. I want to get to the point strengthwise where I can go out and start swinging the bat and I can kind of control that (without) too much of an impact. I created some bad habits at the plate. I want to kind of get away from by making the strength gains to kind of regain where I want to be at the plate.
I dont really have a timetable. I just think as soon as I find the strength gains and get back to hitting again and am pain free Ill be fine.
He is working on strengthening the shoulder first, breaking the bad habits that he has developed this season.
When you get weakness what Ive found, the weaker my shoulder has become the more I jump at balls, try to create bat speed, power and everything from my lower half vs. letting my hands work, he said. Its been a frustrating battle because Ive found myself having a couple of nice rounds of batting practice and when I get in the game I want to create that bat speed and when your top hands kind of lagging behind you find another place to try to create that bat speed and its been my lower half kind of jumping out in front.
For whatever reason, a lot of swings throughout my whole career Ive kind of hung onto the bat, followed through with both hands and Ive found myself kind of casting with my bottom hand and releasing with my top hand. Things that I watch the tapes and Im trying not to do that. Its just involuntary motions trying to take a little pressure off my shoulder."
Despite the injuries and being in the last year of his contract, Drew, who in the past has mentioned the possibility of retiring, is not thinking about that at this point.
No, not at all, said. This has been a frustrating year from the standpoints of this and trying to get things figured out at the plate. So thats been the main focus, trying to get everything back to normal, keep rolling and help this team in any way I can. Its been one of them battles where ultimately just from a daily basis, talking to the training staff, I dont feel like I can do what I want to do because of this weakness in there. Well take some time here and get some strength built back up and start taking swings again and see where we go.
Josh Reddick has filled in during Drews absence. He is playing right field, batting sixth in the series finale against the Royals today. Reddick is batting .358 with four home runs and 21 RBI in35 games. He is among the American League rookie leaders in several offensive categories.
Josh has played great, man, Drew said. Hes probably one of the most improved young players Ive seen. He went from one extreme to another. So its been fun to watch.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen