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Drew slumping

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  May 10, 2007 08:34 AM

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TORONTO -- When outfielder J.D. Drew signed as a free agent with the Dodgers, he went hitless in his first 25 at-bats in 2005. He figures he hit about seven balls in that span that could have been hits.

Drew got off to a much better start for the Red Sox, batting .419 (13 for 31) while hitting safely in his first nine games. But the slump he's currently in -- 4 for 43 (.093) after an 0-for-3 (two whiffs) last night in a 9-3 Sox win -- is one of the worst dry spells of his career.

"You know what, we checked with him after the game,'' manager Terry Francona said. "Asked him, 'Do you need a mental day?' He said, no, he's fine. When it comes, it'll come in a hurry.

"Just like with everybody else, with (Dustin) Pedroia, whoever happens to be struggling at the time, be patient and pat them on the back.''

While Pedroia had two more hits yesterday, raising his average to a season-high .267, Drew's average has fallen to .248, and he has just seven extra-base hits in the season's first 30 games: 4 doubles, 2 home runs and a triple. That's as many extra-base hits as Pedroia has. Drew's 11 RBIs are tied for the fifth on the team with Kevin Youkilis.

Drew went through a 1 for 22 slump last June with the Dodgers, then went on a 13-game hitting streak in which he batted .396.

"He's going to play,'' Francona said. "He's going to have some ups and downs. Whether he does or not, he's going to play. And he's going to do just fine. Again, when he gets hot, he'll be a nice guy to have in that 5-hole.''

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