Cleared by doctors to play in games following his March 7 concussion, Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew began his minor-league rehab assignment yesterday at Double-A by going 0-for-3.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Drew played five innings defensively in the first of what’s expected to be a four-game rehab assignment, which puts him on schedule to potentially join the Red Sox for their home opener Monday.
Jose Iglesias has gone 7-for-12 filling in for Drew at shortstop after beginning his career by going 10-for-74, but the Red Sox have made it clear that the job is Drew’s once he’s ready to return.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.