Stephen Drew to begin rehab assignment Thursday

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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.