SEATTLE -- J.D. Drew acknowledged it was a “bonehead play” when he was thrown out Sunday in Oakland retreating to first base after a base hit. But the lingering effects went beyond mere embarrassment.
Drew said he rolled his right ankle when he lunged awkwardly back into the bag, and Monday he was out of the starting lineup against the Seattle Mariners.
“As soon as I hit the bag, I just rolled it,’’ Drew said. “I lunged in, and [first baseman Daric Barton] spun in and hit me. When he did, my ankle kind of kicked the outside edge of the bag, and pop.
“My left ankle, I’ve rolled it so many times that 10 minutes later I don’t know I did it. But unfortunately, my right ankle when I roll it gets a little bit tight and sore.’’
Drew lined a ball into right field in the fourth inning Sunday that he assumed would be a double off the bat. But, he said, because he has playing with tight hamstrings, he couldn’t run as hard as he normally would and realized that he might not beat Jeremy Hermida’s throw back into the infield.
“I thought, ‘I can’t make it.’ I stopped and kind of started to back up, but I didn’t have enough gas to get back. I couldn’t really dive because I was backing up. I’m backpedaling, and I was farther from the bag than I thought, so when I lunged I was too far. Boneheaded.’’
Without Drew, the Red Sox started an all-rookie outfield of Daniel Nava in left, Ryan Kalish in center, and Josh Reddick in right. Drew's absence came after he’d had three hits and a walk, only his third three-hit game in the season’s second half.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Drew had been batting just .207 (25-for-121), with an on-base percentage of .304 since Aug. 1. His overall line of .257/.347/.444/.791 ranks as his worst since 2002 in St. Louis.
Drew has spoken on a number of occasions this season about being taken out of his comfort zone by what he and other hitters have perceived as a change in the strike zone as called by umpires. The numbers back that up, at least to an extent: The percentage of pitches this season that Drew has swung at outside the strike zone is 20.6 percent, the highest it has been since 2003 (22.6 percent). That’s a big reason why his walks are down so much, from 82 last season to 58 this year, even though he has more plate appearances this season.
“What was middle, middle in to me, which are good pitches for me to hit, now feel like they’re in on me because I’m looking away so much,’’ he said.
“I’ve hit a lot of balls really well, and a lot of balls really bad. I had a terrible month of April and a terrible month of August. I haven’t had a good consistent rhythm for more than a few days. We’ll just try to battle through these last 19 games and see where we’re at.’’