Now, 43 games into the 2014 season, Drew is coming back on a one-year deal, pending a physical, which manager John Farrell said would take place on Wednesday. So, with everything nearly said and done, how do some of Drew’s new (and former) teammates feel about having the shortstop back?
“Anytime you sign a great player, it’s a positive thing,” outfielder Shane Victorino said. “A guy who’s been here before, a guy who’s part of that championship team. I think it’s very important.”
Drew, 31, played 124 games at shortstop for the Red Sox last season, along with playing in all 16 of the club’s postseason games.
“He’s a great player,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “The more great players we can add, the better our team is going to be. Obviously what he did last year to help us win a World Series, he’s pretty valuable.”
Drew is noted for his strong defensive contributions as well as his above-average offensive numbers during the regular season, and there’s no denying that Red Sox players are expecting to get a boost out of the addition.
“We’ve been playing horrible,” designated hitter David Ortiz said. “We went to Minnesota and the series didn’t end up well. You saw what happened here in the series against Detroit.”
“We’ve got to get things better and start playing better and I think the addition of Stephen is going to help us out somehow, some way.”
Any help would serve as a huge plus for the Red Sox. On the heels of the first four-game losing streak in Farrell’s tenure, the team sits fourth in the AL East with a 20-23 record, three games behind the New York Yankees. Both offensively and defensively, the team is ranked in the middle of the pack league-wide, 16th in runs scored and 17th in fielding percentage. While Drew may help in both of those departments, both Ortiz and Victorino remain hesitant about placing the role of savior on him.
“You don’t want to put too much pressure on Stephen either,” Ortiz said. “I don’t think it’s fair, you’ve just got to make sure he just comes in and does his stuff the way he did last year.”
“It’s hard to sit here and go, ‘OK, because we signed Stephen Drew, that’s the answer,’” Victorino said. “You don’t want to put that pressure on him, one, and two is you just hope he fits in, which he did last year. You take it as a positive that he’s a part of this team again and we go out there and take it one game at a time.”
Farrell said that he expects Drew to be ready after taking about 25 at-bats in the minors and showing that he can play nine innings, a process he suggested could take 10-12 days. What’s clear though is that once Drew finally returns to the Red Sox, his teammates will be more than happy to have him back.
“He’s a great player, great teammate,” Ortiz said. “Hopefully he’s bringing the same attitude that he had last year and help us out to win some games.”
“We’re excited, the team’s excited, the guys are excited to have not only a good player but a character guy [that] fits into the clubhouse,” Victorino said. “For me, at the end of the day we got him back and that’s the positive thing I look at. Whatever it took to get him back.
“He’s part of this team now and we’ll go from here.”