For all you need to know about J.D. Drew, just listen to Terry Francona talk about Mike Cameron. If you can follow that logic. Here's what the skipper had to say about Cameron this season:
"Cam's played right (field). He's only played a couple of games in left. I don't anticipate him playing left very much. But you'll see him in spring training play a lot of right field.''
Playing "a lot of right field" means one thing: he's going to be playing a lot of right field.
But it also means if he plays right field, Drew isn't. In Spring Training, at least, Drew will probably get a lot of at-bats as a designated hitter.
Drew has been battling a left hamstring issue that cropped up before Spring activities even started. Francona plays it coy on Drew's injury:
*On whether there is concern about Drew and his troublesome left hamstring, which prompted visits to noted orthopedist James Andrews in Alabama and to the team's medical staff in Boston:
"We're going to try and not let it, but it's something he has voiced some concern about. I don't think he's real concerned about it, but it's been there. I don't think we want it to be a concern. So we'll certainly monitor it.''
Francona may downplay the injury, saying he doesn't think Drew is "real concerned about it," but when Tito talks like this, you should be worried. Worried if you're a fan of Drew's or good baseball players, of course.
Considering Drew hasn't even competed in any sort of strenuous Spring Training activity, this injury is more than a "concern." If Drew had hurt himself shaggin' a fly ball, then OK -- that kind of injury is understandable and the root of the problem is exposed. But a hamstring injury that cropped up over the offseason? This just yells "NAGGING!" And in baseball, nagging injuries are ones that end your career.
And let's face it, Drew Diehards: our poster boy doesn't have many years left. He's 35 years old and is coming off his worst year as a Red Sox. He isn't the kind of guy to prolong a career, either. He's not going to hold out for millions even when he knows his body won't hold up over the contract.
This left hamstring just might be the tipping point.
Oh, and don't get me started on the Drew haters. They'll be coming out of the woodwork. If you haven't heard them yet, just wait. "He's injury prone!" "He's a sally!" "Nancy Drew!"
But let's not count out Drew just yet. If we had a Magic 8-Ball, it'd come up, "Signs Point to No." But let's remember he's a professional athlete. Most of these guys don't just give up at the first sign of trouble. If that was true of Drew, he would have lasted one season.
We'll see a lot of Mike Cameron in right field this Spring Training, but hopefully that's the only time we need to see him there.
LACKEY LIKES VEGGIES
I wrote a few weeks back that John Lackey may be the swing point for the success of the Red Sox. Lackey must have thought the same thing too, because he came to camp down 10 pounds, according to him.
Ten? More like 15 or 20. Unlike trimmed-down Yankee ace CC Sabathia, some people (mainly Red Sox beat writers) think Lackey is being a tad modest.
Ten. Fifteen. Twenty. Doesn't really matter if he doesn't pitch well, though. There has never been a pitcher in the history of baseball who said after having a rebound season, "Losing that 10 pounds around my waist put 10 miles an hour on my fastball and six more inches of break on my curveball."
With that said, it can't hurt, can it?
NOW HITTING A LARGE GREEN BALL FOR THE BOSTON RED SOX...
Now I know I wasn't the only one left scratching my head when I heard the Red Sox signed a softball player.
Jennie Finch?! To the Red Sox?! A dream come true!
Red Sox scout Jon Deeble thinks his game will translate to baseball:
"We believe he shows the aptitude and willingness to be a successful baseball player. He has also showed us the ability to hit the ball out of the park. There needs to be a few minor adjustments made from the softball swing to baseball with the ball coming from different angles. This will also take time, but watching him hit some baseballs, he showed us a great amount of bat speed."
So, the biggest differences are smaller balls and a different pitching angle. Hmm. I'm no expert, but I think those are fundamentally huge aspects of the game of baseball. And those are, essentially, the only differences between the two.
Oh, and that whole tap-a-keg-when-you-reach-a-base thing they've got in softball. That could be a huge problem for the 17 year old when he hits America.