Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa Thinks Red Sox Nation Needs to Appreciate J.D. Drew

It's about time someone stuck up for J.D. Drew.

Yeah, there was the grand slam heard 'round the world, and there was that one-month stretch in 2008 when he hit a home run almost every game, but aside from that, it seems like every day of the past three MLB seasons has been "Let's Throw Mud at J.D. Drew Day."

Is this fair? The only time we seem to appreciate our fragile right fielder is when he gets a superhuman hit or embarks on some kind of superhuman stretch, and then as soon as the magic stops, so does our praise. And all because the expectations for him were a little higher than normal. Who can meet expectations like that, anyway? It's just not going to happen.

Yes, he does tend to hurt himself more often than your average first overall draft pick, but he hasn't been hitting in, say, Julio Lugo territory during his time in Boston. Yes, Drew does get paid a lot for someone who can't eclipse 70 RBIs, but what was he supposed to do when Theo Epstein offered him five years and $70 million? Say, "Nah, let's take it down a notch?"

And finally, Tony La Russa agrees.

After throwing dear J.D. under the bus and questioning his dedication to the game when he was playing in St. Louis, La Russa has finally come to the defense of his former player. It may be six or seven years too late, but it's a start.

Maybe the rest of us can catch on. Or maybe we'll just keep throwing mud at him when he inevitably tweaks his back in July.

In other news, Rajon Rondo points out that girls aren't the only ones who have trouble walking in dress shoes, and Victor Martinez's agent tries his best to make sure his client’s honesty doesn't cost them both a lot of cash.

“I don't think he ever willingly dodged some games because he was tired and a little ouchy.”
–Tony La Russa, on Boston.com, on former Cardinal J.D. Drew’' unfair reputation with regard to injuries

"I was trying not to fall. I was glad I didn't have any dress shoes on."
–Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, on ESPN.com, on his nerves during All-Star Game introductions

"I don't want to be jumping around, I don't want to go somewhere else. First, I didn't want to go out of the Indians organization. Then, I'm out, and now, I'm here. I came to the place where a lot of players dream to come and a lot of players wish to play here in Boston. So I'm here. I do really want to stay here and hopefully end my career in Boston."
–Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez, in the Boston Herald, on his future

"It's nice that Victor says he wants to stay with the Red Sox, but in reality, it doesn't really change anything. The reality is that the Red Sox are going to have to want him. They're going to have to be willing to pay for value to get value.''
–Martinez’s agent Alan Nero, on ESPN.com, on Martinez’s comments about wanting to finish his career in Boston

“As soon as the season starts, I barely talk to my mom."
–Martinez, in the Boston Herald

“I'd like to get my uniform on first, and then we'll get into some expectations."
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on NESN.com, on his expectations for the team heading into spring training

“We’ve got so many damned Ryans, it’s confusing. You say ‘Ryan,’ and five guys turn around. We have to start thinking what their nicknames are. And if we don’t know, then make one up.”
–Team USA hockey coach Ron Wilson, on his roster

"Like I told those guys, first period, I felt like a soldier in Iraq. I didn't know where the shots were coming from. It was tough. But I survived."
–Czech Republic star Jaromir Jagr, on Yahoo Sports, on his team’s Olympic victory over Slovakia on Wednesday night

"Boof Bonser looks like somebody who would be named Boof Bonser."
–The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, via Twitter

"I think that's definitely a selling point to come over to a place like this. It's the biggest rivalry in our game, and it's going to be fun to jump right in the middle of it."
–Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, on NESN, on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry

"A classic, classic butt-kicking. No doubt about it. Mostly, I wanted our guys to keep competing and keep encouraging each other during the times we were down. It was hard to do that."
–Sixers head coach Eddie Jordan, to The Associated Press, after losing 105-78 to the Heat