With the departure of Mike Aviles in October, it appearedthe shortstop job would be Jose Iglesias to lose. Now, it appears the job belongs to StephenDrew.The Red Sox signed Drew to a one-year, 9.5 million contract,first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com Monday morning. The Sox have yetto officially announce the deal.In 2012, Drew appeared in a combined 79 games betweenArizona 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 .972fielding percentage, also a career low, off his .978 career average and .984career best in 2010. Drew had a career-worst 0-for-22 streak between theDiamondbacks and As.The 79 games were the fewest in his career for a fullseason, behind only 59 in 2006 when he made his big-league debut July 15. Drewdid not appear in a game last season until June 27, missing the first 73 gameswhile recovering from a broken ankle he suffered July 20, 2011, when he wasthrown out sliding into home plate against the Brewers.Drew, who turns 30 in March, was the Diamondbacksfirst-round (15th overall) pick in 2004 out of Florida State. Over seven major league seasons, he has posteda career .265 average, with a .328 OBP, and .433 SLG. His most productiveseason was arguably 2008, when hit .291 with 21 home runs, and 67 RBI in 152games, all career highs.He didnt have spectacular numbers in 2012, but hesgoing to do the job at shortstop, said one scout. Hes going to be an everyday, make-the-playtype of guy. Nothing sensational. I think the big question with him is his batgoing to come back.Another question: Is his ankle fully recovered?I think thats going to be somewhat lingering, said thescout. But he adjusted to having it not in the best of shape by positioning alittle better. The range that he had,that may come back. But he became a smarter player. I think a lot of players,when they get hurt they dont know how to deal with it. But hes always been areal baseball player.Drew is a left-handed hitter, giving the Sox some morebalance to a lineup that was becoming predominantly right-handed.I think with the wall there, he can go the other way, hecan take the ball the other way, said the scout. To a left-handed hitter that wall, that canmake guys, if they know how to go the other way with a pitch, that can add20-30 points to their normal average. Andyou 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-typecareer, and he can take the ball the other way.So, I think thats a good bet that hes going to have a good year.Drew is the younger brother of J.D. Drew, who played rightfield for the Sox for five seasons before retiring after the 2011 season. Bothare represented by Scott Boras. J.D.Drew at times drew the ire of Sox fans for what was perceived as lack ofintensity or urgency.As far as the media, Stephen is kind of a quiet, reservedguy, very much like J.D, said the scout, who followed Stephen Drew closelyearly in his career. Its been a few years, but he seemed to be more outgoingthan J.D. I think hes going to know howto handle things. Hes a pro.The addition of Drew seems to signal the Sox dont thinkIglesias is ready for the big leagues. In 25 games with the Sox in 2012, Iglesias hit just.118, going 8-for-68, with just two extra-base hits -- a home run and two doubles -- two RBI, and fiveruns scored. He struck out 16 times withjust four walks. The defense ofIglesias, who turns 23 on Jan. 5, has never been in doubt since the Sox signedthe Cuban defector in 2009. It is his offense that continues to be doubted.Iglesias cant hit. I hope the Sox dont think thats asecret, said the scout. Sometimes its treated that way in the industry, buthe cant hit. Hes really, really a great defender. But you cant put a bat inhis hands and he cant steal first base.Hes got tools but he doesnt have a toolbox.
BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.
That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.
With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.
“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”
While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.
“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.
“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”
On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time.
Juan Agudelo scored two goals to lead the Revolution to a 5-2 victory over Minnesota United in New England's home opener before 11,571 Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Agudelo scored in the fourth and 41st minutes as the Revs - held to one goal in their first two games - picked up their first points of the season after opening with losses in Colorado and Dallas.
New England's original home opener, two weeks ago against Orlando, was postponed by cold weather.
After Collen Warner's goal in the 15th minute tied it for expansion Minnesota, Kei Kamara (21st minute) and Lee Nguyen (penalty kick in the 32nd) made it 3-1 before Agudelo completed a four-goal outburst in the first half with his second goal of the game.
Nguyen's tally moved him into a tie with Steve Ralston for second place on the Revs career goals list with his 42nd. They trail Taylor Twellman (101).
Chris Tierney, playing in his 200th MLS game, all with the Revs, capped the scoring with a penalty-kick goal in the 52nd minute.
The Revs next play Sunday, April 2 on the road against the Portland Timbers.