J.D. Drew, out since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement, has made some strides in his effort to return. Drew hit off a tee for the first time Friday and is hoping for a rapid progression from there.
?I don?t think he feels like it?s going to be terribly long,? manager Terry Francona said. ?From our side of it, he?s been down a while. We want to make sure that he?s not only able to come back, but come back and be productive.?
Drew was bothered by the injury from time to time since the spring. It was one factor in what has been the worst season of his career from a numbers perspective.
Francona expects that once Drew gets back, the shoulder issues will be a thing of the past.
?He?s been getting after it physically, so I think when he comes back, I think his body?s going to feel really good,? Francona added.
Mike Aviles is starting in right field Saturday against the New York Yankees. It is Aviles? first career appearance in the outfield. While that remains somewhat experimental, Francona holds out hope that Drew will eventually provide a lift that was so absent through the first four months of the season.
?We could get him back and get that month or six weeks out of him,? Francona said. ?What a lift.?