Rob Bradford of Boston’s WEEI caught up with Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew on Saturday and the two discussed his plans for the future. It sure sounds like the 34-year-old Drew, who has now played 13 seasons of Major League Baseball, might call it quits at the end of next season.
His current contract with the Red Sox will be up at that point and he told Bradford that he wants to participate in faith-related missions and spend more time with his family.
“I don’t think people realize the intensity of being gone,” said Drew. “It’s really,
really difficult. Then there’s where I stand in my faith and my
commitment. Those things pull heavily when you start to get to this
point in my career. … I’ve had a great time in the game of baseball, and the relationships
I’ve come across have been great. But that being said, there’s only so
much you can do.”
Drew seems to miss a large chunk of playing time every season due to a range of injuries, but he’s one of the most productive and underrated players in all of baseball when healthy. This year the right fielder has posted 18 home runs and 62 RBI in 435 at-bats and has batted .282/.370/.507 against right-handed hitters. He still has great range on defense and a strong arm.
Drew is a stellar .281/.388/.499 career hitter with 234 career homers and 1,371 career hits. He’s played for the Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers and Red Sox.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.