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Second opinion on Drew

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  December 17, 2006 01:00 PM

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J.D. Drew was scheduled to receive a second opinion Monday on a shoulder issue the Red Sox have concerns about, according to a major league source familiar with Drew's condition.

The red flag went up after the Sox right-fielder underwent a physical in Boston last week and the reason the 5-year, $70 million deal struck at baseball's winter meetings nearly two weeks ago has not be finalized.

Multiple Sox officials did not return calls or e-mails on the subject.

It's not known whether the physical issue could be a deal-breaker, but it may cause some revision of the guarantees in the deal or increase clauses for games-played in place of the guaranteed money. The issue could also force the Red Sox to shorten the deal.

Reached at his Georgia home, Drew said he was busy with a personal matter and could not comment.

The Red Sox and Drew's agent Scott Boras both have only commented that the hangup is a language issue in the contract. But apparently it's far more than that.

Drew has had a number of injuries during his career, including a bad case of patellar tendinitis to his knee while he played for the Cardinals, which is also a concern, and injuries to his shoulder, back and wrist.

The medical issue is not expected to make the Sox back out of the deal completely, but if proper revisions can't be made to the deal, the Red Sox might have to consider other plans. The Red Sox have always been earmarked as Drew's sole destination after Boras, exercised an out clause on his contract with the Dodgers in November.

There didn't appear to be any other bidders for Drew's services. But there are still multiple teams looking for a middle-of-the-order hitter and if the Sox deal falls through there could be interest by other teams.

The question is would Drew get an annual salary of $14 million?

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