BOSTON -- The possibility that Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury is a thought that neither the player nor the team wants to entertain.
But it's also something that can't yet be ruled out, at least until Drew is re-examined Saturday, which could leave the Red Sox facing a quandary: If Drew indeed cannot play, do the Sox summon back third baseman Will Middlebrooks, whom they just sent down to Pawtucket on Tuesday while giving every indication they planned to leave him there until he regained the form that made him such an exciting rookie last season?
Middlebrooks has played just three games in Pawtucket, with 3 singles in 14 at-bats and no strikeouts. The Sox had called up minor league free agent Brandon Snyder to take Middlebrooks' place, even though he'd just come off a trip in which he'd batted .125 for the PawSox. Snyder pinch-ran for Drew on Friday night and eventually took over at third base, with Jose Iglesias moving from third to short.
Snyder flied out and struck out in his only two at-bats.
Middlebrooks, while expressing disappointment at letting down both himself and the team with his performance this season, told the Providence Journal in Pawtucket that he intended to be back in Boston sooner than later.
"I don't plan on being down here very long," he said. "I want to come down here and I want to play very well and show them what they want to see.
"When the time's right, I'll be back. They can't put a time on it, and I can't either."
Could that be in the next couple of days? Drew, who had tripled home two runs in his first at-bat, said he felt discomfort in the hamstring when he accelerated coming around first base after realizing he'd hit the ball farther than he thought.
"It pretty much just kind of grabbed me," he said. "Just tightened up real bad."
Unlike his older brother J.D., who was plagued by hamstring issues throughout his career, Stephen said his hamstrings have rarely given him a problem. Interestingly, though, while J.D.'s hamstring problems usually meant sitting out a few games here or there and did not put him on the DL, Stephen strained his left hamstring in 2009 with Arizona, requiring a DL stint that cost him 18 games.
"The last time I tore it, so I know I didn't do that," Stephen said Friday night. "Hamstrings are funny but I'm staying positive, hopefully maybe one or two games and go from there.
"Right now it's still kind of sore. We'll see tomorrow and have a better idea of it."