FORT MYERS, Fla. — Stephen Drew, who has not played since being hit in the head by a pitch March 7, will not be with the Red Sox on Opening Day.
On Thursday, Drew was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list retroactive to March 27. In theory, Drew would be eligible to return to the Sox April 3, the second game of the season. But that is highly unlikely.
“We’re not there to make that an official return date by any means,” manager John Farrell said.
Drew and Farrell have talked generally about how much playing time he will need to be ready. Drew will not go to New York with the team because he is close to being ready for extended spring training games, which start Monday.
“To get to a hard number, he’s not in a position to offer up ‘it’s X number of at-bats’ before he feels he’s game-ready,” Farrell said. “We’ve got to get to the first game first and proceed from there.”
Drew still has some symptoms, but he has been taking batting and fielding practice on the field.
“There’s that peaks and valleys along the way, even though the valleys are getting shallower,” Farrell said. “In general, there’s less symptoms, but yet there are still symptoms.”
Statistically, Clay Buchholz had a dominant spring training. In six starts, he allowed two earned runs on 12 hits over 22⅔ innings with six walks and 22 strikeouts.
The righthander threw four shutout innings against the Twins Thursday, striking out six in his final start before facing the Yankees Wednesday.
“It definitely gives you a little bit more confidence going forward knowing I’m throwing my pitches where I want to throw them for the most part,” Buchholz said “It’s a good thing going into the season feeling that way.”
But statistics do not tell the entire story. He is pitching aggressively in the strike zone and throwing four pitches with accuracy. Against Minnesota, he was throwing sinking fastballs designed to create contact so well that the Twins were swinging and missing.
“I thought he looked very sharp,” Farrell said.
Sweeney on outs
Ryan Sweeney was told when he signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox in January that a spot on the roster was his to lose.
He lost it Thursday when he was told he would not be added to the roster.
Sweeney hit .217 in 46 at-bats with one extra-base hit. After meeting with Farrell, he called his agent to decide what to do. Sweeney has the right to opt out of his minor league deal and become a free agent.
“I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “Now we’ll see what happens . . . It’s definitely a weird situation, the first time I’ve gone through it.”
Sweeney hit .260 over 63 games for the Red Sox last season.
David Ortiz, out all spring recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury, worked out on the field and did some agility drills. He has been picking up speed, literally, over the last few days.
“So he’s making progress in terms of just volume and adding activities rather than what last week had in store in terms of hitting off a tee and some light soft toss,” said Farrell. “Based on the revised plan, he’s moving along as laid out.”
Ortiz will accompany the team to New York so he can continue to work with therapist Dan Dyrek. He will return to Fort Myers after that and could play in games.
“Hopefully when he returns back down here,” said Farrell. “That’s kind of a general time frame of his progression.”
Lefthanded relievers Franklin Morales (lower back) and Craig Breslow (shoulder) also are making progress. Morales will throw off a mound Saturday and Breslow will do so Monday.
Joel Hanrahan allowed six earned runs in his first three innings this spring. He has since been perfect over 4⅓ innings. He retired the Twins in order in the fifth inning Thursday.
“A little adjustment with my front shoulder, keeping it higher, but mainly I realize the season is getting here and I need to get going,” Hanrahan said.
Hanrahan is scheduled for another inning Saturday.
“I’m ready to get out of here and start the season,” he said. “I’m anxious.”
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who missed a few days recovering from an infection on his back, played in the Triple A and Double A games in the afternoon to get some extra at-bats . . . Farrell on the solid work of righthander Koji Uehara this spring: “It’s a pretty comfortable inning to watch. He keeps things under control.” . . . Ryan Kalish, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, turned 25 and had a few nice gifts waiting at his locker from friends.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.