Speaking by phone Monday night, former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew said that his younger brother, Stephen Drew, should fit in well in Boston. Stephen, who has agreed to a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Sox, informed his older sibling earlier Monday that he would be joining J.D.'s former team while the pair was duck hunting near their homes in Georgia.
J.D. did explain that while there are "a lot of similarities" between the brothers (who are eight years apart in age), fans in Boston will notice some subtle differences.
"The thing is, Stephen is not nearly as guarded as I am," J.D. said. "He's more outgoing. He may even come across that way to me because, you know, reflecting a lot of what I went through when I came out of college. … I came under a bunch of scrutiny before I even stepped into a major league uniform and I hadn't even done anything. … I took a bunch of heat. Stephen's benefited from some of the stuff that I went through. A lot of guys have.
"You know, I put my walls up early. Stephen's going to be a little bit less guarded. I think he's' a real laid-back personality. You're not going to see a lot of helmet-throwing, bat-slamming, unfortunately that's what seems the people in Boston like. … We treat ourselves a lot like role models, I think Stephen, he's following that same thing."
One aspect of Stephen's game which his older brother wants to highlight was a durability that came into question when Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick questioned Stephen's motives when coming back from a fractured ankle. Kendrick suggested Drew was taking too long in his recovery, eyeing a potential free agent payday.
Up until the 2011 season, Drew had played in at least 150 games in three of the four previous seasons.
"My only thought for Stephen is he is his own player and his own person," said J.D. "What aggravates me is that he's been kind of lumped into an injury-prone kind of deal. Stephen's never been injury-prone. This guy has played 150 games a year for most of his career until he breaks his leg in half.
"I think he's going to come back with a really nice season, and you've got to understand what made me more frustrated is Arizona throwing him under the bus like he hadn't given them anything over a four- or five-year career. He'd been a great, incredible shortstop, playing solid defense up the middle. I don't worry about the battles for Stephen. He can iron that stuff out and I think it'll probably motivate him a little bit more than playing in a small market like Arizona. … I was in one of those places where I played in all big markets. St. Louis is passionate, Atlanta, you don't draw a lot in Atlanta but Atlanta's got a huge following. You ship yourself off to go play in LA and then you go to Boston. I played in all these big markets and it's one of those things where there's a lot of media coverage, a lot of stuff going on, and Arizona's a little bit different, but I think it'll challenge him, maybe push him over to the next level as far as that goes."
Playing in a combined 79 games with Arizona and Oakland, Drew finished 2012 hitting .223 with a .657 OPS with seven homers. The shortstop's best season came in 2008 when he hit 21 home runs to go along with a .291 batting average and .836 OPS.
For more comments from J.D. talking about Stephen, check back for a report on the Full Count Blog.
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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