J.D. Drew, who had minor surgery on his left shoulder last Thursday, should be able to take part in spring training without missing any time. The procedure was done to help alleviate the inflammation he was experiencing in the second half of the season.
The 34-year-old Red Sox right fielder spoke with WEEI’s Rob Bradford over the weekend: “I got that [cortisone] injection right before the playoffs, which helped a little bit but didn’t help a whole lot,” Drew told Bradford from his Georgia home. “Then I went into the offseason and the last couple of weeks it’s just been wearing me out. Nagging, achy, and every time I reach across to grab something it was really weak. So I flew into Boston Wednesday to get an MRI to see what was going on.”
“When you’re doing baseball every day I think your body is loosened up and more accepting to those motions you do,” Drew told Bradford. “But when you come home for the offseason and everything starts healing up that’s when a lot of time you start noticing scar tissue build-up in that area and that’s when I was like, ‘Golly man, this is not not normal.’ . . . It finally got to a point where a shot wasn’t going to fix it.”
The Red Sox have an opt-out clause in Drew’s contract, which is related to shoulder injuries. But the clause won’t apply because the procedure was done on Drew’s left shoulder, and contract allows the team to opt out of the 2010 and/or 2011 seasons if Drew spends 35 days on the disabled with injuries related to a pre-existing right shoulder condition or if he finishes next season on the disabled list and can’t play the outfield in 2011.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has spoken recently about his fondness for Drew and what he brings to the team.
“From a straight objective standpoint, what he contributes offensively and what he contributes defensively, and add in baserunning, so it’s the total value of the player, on a rate basis he was outstanding, and there aren’t too many outfielders who compare to what he did,” said Epstein in a WEEI radio interview in October.
“There [are] labels that tend to happen,” Epstein said. “People who don’t like Drew will call him uncaring or apathetic or aloof. People who like him will say he has ice in his veins. Then these narratives may or may not even be true, so people who don’t like a player like that will say, ‘He doesn’t care. He doesn’t come through in the clutch.’ They just start these broad labels that aren’t necessarily true.
“Can you think of a hitter who has had more big hits, more big home runs for us the in the postseason in the last three seasons than Drew? He has more postseason RBIs the past three years than any player that we have. So this narrative sort of takes a life of its own, and it’s not always true.”
Drew batted .279 to go with 24 home runs and 68 RBIs in 137 games for the Red Sox in 2009 — his third season in Boston. Drew had the highest OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) among all American League outfielders for the second half of the 2009 season (.999), finishing the season with .914 OPS.
In 2010, Drew will be entering the fourth year of a five year, $70 million contract he signed before the 2007 season.