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J.D. Drew ‘feels good’ after first rehab start

08.26.11 at 10:20 pm ET
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LOWELL — Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew made his first significant step in returning to the lineup Friday night when he made a rehab start with the Lowell Spinners, the short-season Single A affiliate of the Red Sox. Drew went 0-2 with a run scored batting third as the team’s designated hitter.

Drew has been on disabled list since July 26 with a left shoulder impingement.

“I felt good,” he said. “It is just a matter of getting back in the swing of things and seeing some pitches. It was really unique to come back to a ballpark of this size and lighting. It is kind of different, but I just got back in the swing of things.”

Prior to his first at-bat he received a loud ovation from the crowd only to strike out on six pitches. Drew took the first four pitches, fouled a pitch off and then swung and missed at a breaking ball. Drew next came to the plate in the fourth inning and flew out to shallow left field on a 1-1 pitch.

“I felt the swings got better as the night went on,” Drew said. “The first at-bat was more figuring out how to work the count and as the night went on my approach got better and a little cleaner.”

In Drew’s third at-bat he was hit by a 2-2 breaking ball on the right shoulder. Drew then scored all the way from first base on a double.

His final at-bat came in the eighth inning where Drew earned a walk on nine pitches. Drew did take some healthy cuts, fouling off four pitches.

“That last at bat I fouled off a lot of pitches and that guy was throwing pretty hard,” Drew said. “It was good to see. I felt like my approach was nice and clean so it worked out pretty well.”

According to Drew, getting back into the swing of things at the minor league level can be difficult because of the unfamiliarity with the ballparks and inconsistencies from pitchers.

“It’s actually a little easier at the big league level because you have a history with guys that you’re facing,” he said. “You’re more comfortable in your ballpark and the parks you’re playing in. Here it is completely up in the air whether you’re going to get a fastball down the middle or pitches all over the place. For the most part those guys were throwing the ball well. It was fun to play.”

Drew is scheduled to play again [weather permitting] Saturday for the Spinners before playing for Triple-A Pawtucket next Tuesday and Wednesday. If all goes well, he is expected to be activated Sept. 1 when the rosters expand to 40 players.

“That’s the plan,” he said. “It will be a judgement call on the weather tomorrow. Supposedly the weather is going to get progressively worse as the afternoon goes along. I don’t know if I will come out, or just stick around Boston and get some good workouts in and try and fine tune my skills before Pawtucket.”

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