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Stephen Drew: ‘It’s a good feeling to be back’

04.10.13 at 4:56 pm ET
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After getting hit by a pitch in the head and suffering a concussion in early March during a spring training game against the Twins in Fort Myers, shortstop Stephen Drew said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles that he can’t wait to rejoin the Red Sox as the starting shortstop. Drew spoke at length about what it was to overcome the concussion, watch the team get off to a hot start and watching Jose Iglesias perform well in his absence.

More than anything, Drew said he was happy to finally be back on the field and ready to make his true Red Sox debut.

“It’s a good feeling to be back,” he told reporters three hours before Wednesday’s scheduled first pitch. “It was kind of a long process, and kind of didn’t know when I would be back. The symptoms are gone and I’m ready to get back after it. It’s good to be here.”

Does he feel ready to play?

“Oh yeah, I feel ready,” he said without hesitation. “It’s now getting in there and getting back and playing the game that I always played. I’m looking forward to getting back with the guys to help this team win. That’s what it’s about.”

Most importantly, Drew said he doesn’t fear being gun shy at the plate or in the field.

“No hesitation,” Drew said. “I knew after going through that, it’s not frustrating. You just could do nothing. You get hit in the head, and it’s your brain, and it’s one of those things that takes time to heal. I thought I was fine during the game, and going home, I knew something wasn’t right. It’s like I said, that concussion took a little while longer than I thought it would be.

“Just now, while I was down there [on a rehab assignment], trying to see as many pitches as I can, playing catchup, just getting as many at-bats as I can, taking as many swings and ground balls to be back up here.”

Drew said he started really feeling better just before the season opener in New York.

“I would say about a week and a half ago, things started to come around,” Drew said. “I don’t feel no symptoms no more. That’s what I was saying. Two weeks ago, they were still there. Just trying to get over the spin feel, being a little lethargic, tired and stuff like that. With the drills I had to do, the vision stuff, the time held itself.”

Drew said he is very grateful for the new seven-day concussion policy instituted by Major League Baseball, which began last season.

“It’s great procedure, it really is,” he said. “Going through a concussion, playing football growing up, never had a concussion like this. When I took the hit on March 7, I thought I was fine. I knew something wasn’t right that night. Gosh, now it’s been a month now, going through that whole process.

“That procedure is good. The new helmets, I don’t know with the older helmet, the way I got hit in front of the forehead, I don’t know if it would be even worse than it could have been. Glad to be back. The procedures they went through are there for a reason, to protect us. I’m feeling good now.”

Drew said he’s not surprised the team is off to a good start.

“It’s great,” he said. “In spring training, you guys were asking, I thought the camaraderie was there with the team with the change and some new guys. It was fun to watch. I tried to catch as much as I could of the games, but not having a routine either — going to Fort Myers, going to Portland and stuff like that. I could catch a couple games here or there to see what was going on.”

Part of what has been going on has been the solid play of Jose Iglesias, who filled in admirably in Drew’s absence. Iglesias was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday to make room for Drew’s activation off the seven-day DL.

“It was great,” Drew said of watching Iglesias. “It’s great. He did a great job. There’s nothing that we could do. It’s just part of baseball. Iggy did a great job. Watching him play, he played great defense and good hitting. He started off the season really good. It’s good to see because playing in Oakland last year, I got to chat with him a little bit. I didn’t know him as well as this year, but he seemed like a total different person.

“Now it’s going in there and like I said, playing the game. I was playing the game down there, but up here it’s a little faster paced. I’ve been used to it. I’m just ready to get back out there and get adjusted. The timing will come. It’s a great feeling. I’ve played against the Sox in interleague play. It’s a baseball town. It’s a great place to play. It’s better to be on this side than the other side.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, jose iglesias, MLB, Stephen Drew
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