Stephen Drew has appeared in only 66 of Boston’s first 97 games this season because of various physical ailments. The hope is that he will have a much healthier and more productive second half.
According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Drew is scheduled to begin playing in minor league rehab games this Thursday with Double-A Portland. If all goes well, he should be back on the Red Sox active 25-man roster early next week.
Drew has been on the disabled list since June 28 with right hamstring tightness. He also missed time in May with back discomfort and part of April because of a concussion suffered in spring training.
Drew, 30, is batting just .233/.313/.409 with five home runs and 31 RBI in 66 games this season for the first-place Red Sox. The Scott Boras client signed a one-year, $9.5 million free agent deal in December.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.