J.D. Drew already has his first nagging injury of 2011

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Buried in Nick Cafardo’s excellent Sunday notes column on the Boston Globe‘s website is this bit of troubling news for Red Sox fans: J.D. Drew has been experiencing discomfort in his hamstring this offseason and is likely to be limited when spring training opens later this month.

Drew battled hamstring problems throughout much of the 2010 season.  He didn’t hit the disabled list once, but that seems likely to change this year if he is already having struggles here in early February.

The good news is that the Red Sox have enough depth to handle the two- or three-week stints when he goes down.  Ryan Kalish is a well-rounded player and just about ready to become a big league regular.  Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald are both quality backups, too.

Boston is used to Drew’s nagging injuries.  He started only 127 games in 2010, 124 in 2009 and 105 in 2008.  That he’s already having problems is unfortunate, but the Sox are prepared.

Drew, 35, is entering the final season of a five-year, $72 million contract that he signed in December of 2006.  He has spoken a few times about retiring when the 2011 season concludes.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.