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.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.