FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shortstop Stephen Drew isn’t sure when he will be ready to play in a game. But he feels reassured that his concussion symptoms will clear up more soon after seeing a specialist.
Dr. Michael Collins examined Drew at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Wednesday and Thursday. Collins is a leader in the field of treating sports-related concussions.
“It was a positive,” Drew said Friday. “It’s a good feeling for me, kind of getting on the road back to where I want to be . . . It’s reassuring because now we know what I’m dealing with.”
Drew was hit in the head by a pitch March 7 and stayed in the game for another two innings. His concussion symptoms did not occur until that evening and he has been unable to play since.
“I never knew what a concussion really was. Going through it now, it ain’t no fun. You’re kind of in limbo out there, you know? You can’t really do nothing to make it better, it just takes time,” Drew said.
Drew said he felt dizzy, unbalanced, and unexpectedly tired.
“You can call it fogginess, a little spin feeling going on every now and then. That’s what I’m working through. It’s coming a long way,” he said. “When I started this, I was thinking [about being out] no more than two or three days. Before too long it was like, ‘Man, what is going on here?’
“Where I’m at now, the tiredness is gone. Just now getting everything back in synch. The symptoms are there a little. Trying to knock that out as quick as possible.”
Collins showed Drew some exercises he can do with his eyes to improve his vision. Drew has been playing catch and hitting in the cage the last two days. He is not yet ready to get on the field yet.
“I’ll know when I feel right. That’ll be the biggest key and when I do, I’ll move forward,” he said. “Good thing is I feel still in good shape. It’s a good thing.”
Drew, who never had a concussion before, has learned about how potentially serious and career-threatening they can be.
“That’s kind of how the brain is. You have to let it heal up,” he said. “I’d like to say sooner or later it’ll be over with and I’ll look back and never have to deal with it again.”
Drew has no idea yet when he might be ready for the season. It’s a virtual certainty that he will open the year on the disabled list.
“It’s no good for the team or for me to go out there the way I feel now,” he said. “We have guys who can take care of it while this is going on. That’s a good thing.
“If I rush back and say well, I’m good, and then a week later I’m starting to feel these symptoms, that would be good for nobody. But it’s come a long way.”
Drew said he doesn’t necessarily need a certain number of at-bats to get ready. The Red Sox are expected to use Jose Iglesias in his place.
Lester tunes up
Jon Lester went 5⅓ innings against Minnesota’s Triple A team at the Red Sox complex. The lefthander allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
There were no more than 50 fans watching as Lester threw 100 pitches, 59 for strikes. Pitching coach Juan Nieves skipped the trip to Dunedin to monitor Lester. Teammate John Lackey also watched from the side.
The point of the day was to get to 95-100 pitches. Lester also stayed with his spring training theme of working with a quicker tempo.
Lester retired 11 of the first 13 batters. He had some issues in the fifth inning when the Twins strung together two singles, a walk, and a two-run double. Lester struck out the next batter, and Nieves decided the inning was over after 22 pitches.
Lester will pitch again on Wednesday against the Marlins. That will probably be a shorter outing to prepare him for Opening Day against the Yankees on April 1. No announcement has been made regarding the opener and Lester claims manager John Farrell hasn’t told him anything.
“You guys know anything?” he asked reporters. “I don’t know. I know we’re in New York. I have not been told anything. I’m looking to Wednesday and then go from there. I’m sure you guys will probably find out before I do on what’s going on.”
Bet that’s not the case.
Meanwhile, Farrell has stayed quiet.
“I think he’s just messing with y’all,” Lester said.
Bad day for Bard
Daniel Bard couldn’t get through an inning in the game against Minnesota’s Double A team. He allowed a broken-bat single before walking two batters. After Nieves visited the mound, Bard struck out the next two batters. He hit the next batter and was taken out after 27 pitches, 14 of them strikes. Bard has had two rough outings in a row. The righthander seems likely to start the season with Triple A Pawtucket. “I feel I’m in such a better place,” Bard said, comparing this spring with his torturous 2012 season. “I feel I’m in control.” . . . Clayton Mortensen threw an uneventful inning in the Double A game.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.