THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Games are a family reunion

Drews meet again on the diamond

By Nate Taylor
Globe Correspondent / June 17, 2010

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When J.D. Drew played against his younger brother, Stephen, for the first time in the major leagues, he didn’t think much of it. It was just another game on the schedule.

That was in July 2006. Now, five seasons later, J.D. Drew understands the significance of the encounters against Stephen and the Diamondbacks.

“I think we probably take that for granted,’’ J.D. said. “You go on about your business every day, but we’re very fortunate.’’

J.D., Stephen, and Tim, the middle Drew brother and a former major leaguer, are the only trio of siblings each selected in the first round of the draft. Interleague play has brought J.D. and Stephen, a shortstop, together this week at Fenway.

J.D. has been able to see Stephen play — something he doesn’t get to do a lot in person. That’s because at 34, J.D. Drew is seven years older than his brother. When Stephen was in high school, J.D. already was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I’ve never really had a chance to sit and watch a game,’’ J.D. said. “Although I’m playing right field against him, it’s a brief chance to watch him do his profession.’’

And Stephen understands how cool it is to play against his brother.

“I never got to play with him, so to play against him is always fun,’’ he said. “It’s pretty special. There’s not that many brothers that have come and play because it’s so hard to stay up here as it is.’’

For most of J.D. Drew’s early career, Stephen was there to see his older brother develop. Whether watching him at Florida State or in the majors, Stephen had the opportunity to learn from his brother, which helped him once he entered the minors.

“I watched the way he carried himself on the field,’’ Stephen said. “We’re kind of the same. We don’t say much. We just go play.’’

Before last night’s game, the two were able to spend time together and relax at J.D.’s house. Stephen said the visit felt more like being at home than another stop on the road. During the season, the two don’t get a chance talk often. With the time difference between Boston and Phoenix, the brothers say they keep in touch by text messages.

J.D. Drew said he always knew his brother was going to be a good major league player, but he’s been especially impressed by his defense.

“I’m glad he’s got a position of his own,’’ J.D. said. “Instead of playing outfield, he set himself to be his own kind of player.’’

The two will get a chance to catch up when they fish and hunt together in the offseason, and are looking forward to it. But for now, J.D. Drew just wants to beat his brother. That hasn’t changed.

Nate Taylor can be reached at ntaylor@globe.com.

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