FORT MYERS, Fla. — The season starts on April 1 for the Red Sox, 15 days from today. The odds of shortstop Stephen Drew being ready have grown slim.
Drew has not played since March 7, when he was hit in the helmet by a pitch and suffered a concussion.
"We thought this was going to be a couple of days thing at the most and at the time he was hit, never even thought twice about it," manager John Farrell said. "But here we are 10 days later and we’re still in the same situation.”
Drew stretched with the Sox today and played catch. But that was it.
"When those symptoms are fully subsided is when he starts to ramp things up more intently and we’re not there yet," Farrell said. "At some point you start to look at we’re getting to this last stage of camp. You have to start thinking about all the options.
"The biggest question is when does he get back in a game. He still has kind of, as he described it, kind of a wavy feeling in his vision or in that field mentally that he has when he moves quickly or has a quick reaction to something to stay under control.”
Drew has had an MRI and has been in contact with Dr. Michael "Mickey" Collins, the director of the Sports Concussion Program at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“He’s in daily communication with [Collins],” Farrell said. “The symptoms are described; the physical testing he goes through. This is one of those that time has got to be given for those symptoms to subside.”
The only positive for Drew has been that his symptoms do not get worse when he elevates his heart rate with exercise.
“But at the same time, he’s not ready to get back in a game,” Farrell said.
If Drew is not available, who starts at shortstop against the Yankees? The top choice could be Jose Iglesias. He is hitting .237/.275/.474 in spring training but has shown a better approach at the plate.
"He’s done a good job. We talked about his set-up in the box in the early part of camp. We’ve seen more consistent hard contact. He can’t be totally measured in the batting average but he’s looked aggressive at the plate," Farrell said.
The only other shortstops in camp are Pedro Ciriaco and Brock Holt. But Ciriaco might be more valuable to the Red Sox coming off the bench. Holt has played only 13 innings at shortstop in spring training. But he was Pittsburgh's Double A shortstop last season.
Holt is a lefthanded hitter, which helps his cause. But he has hit only .200/.238/.275 in camp.
“We haven’t made any official change to shortstop position. But everyone that’s in camp will be part of that discussion," Farrell said.