FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shortstop Stephen Drew, who hasn’t played since March 7 because of a concussion, resumed baseball activities Thursday after being cleared by a specialist. But he remains likely to start the season on the disabled list.
Drew played catch and took swings in the batting cage but is not yet ready for games. He still has some symptoms but is improved from a few days ago.
“He’ll progress as tolerated, with really right now no time frame of getting back in a game yet,” said manager John Farrell.
Once Drew is cleared to play, the Red Sox will use him only in minor league games so they can backdate his stay on the disabled list.
Major League Baseball has a seven-day disabled list for concussions. In theory, Drew could miss only one game and return April 3 if his stint is retroactive to the first allowable day, March 26.
Drew had only 18 plate appearances this spring before he was shut down. It will take him some time to get back.
“We’ll have a better sense of that by the end of the weekend. But we’re starting to fight the calendar a little bit,” said general manager Ben Cherington. “We don’t want him to be in a position where he’s having to rush to get at-bats.”
Drew has passed the cognitive tests administered by MLB to be able to play.
“There’s certainly an element of unknown with this type of thing,” Cherington said. “From the day it happened, we felt it was something he was going to get past. But there’s no blueprint on this type of thing.”
The Red Sox are planning to use Jose Iglesias at shortstop until Drew returns.
Familiar with Phillies
Shane Victorino was excited to be playing the Phillies Thursday night and volunteered to take the long trip to Clearwater Sunday for the game against Philadelphia.
“Great to see so many friends,” the outfielder said before contributing a three-run triple in a 6-1 victory.
The Phillies took Victorino in the Rule 5 draft in 2004 and he stayed for eight seasons. He was traded to the Dodgers last July 31 for three prospects.
When the Dodgers obtained Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez from the Red Sox in August, Victorino became expendable. The Red Sox signed him to a three-year, $39 million deal.
“I had some great years in Philadelphia before the trade,” Victorino said. “But that chapter is closed and I moved on.”
The Sox and Phillies will play four times in the regular season — two games at Fenway Park May 27-28 and two at Citizens Bank Park May 29-30.
“I think it’ll be a good reception for me,” Victorino said. “I loved playing there and the atmosphere suited me. I think the same way about Fenway.”
The Sox will start Jon Lester in a minor league game Friday rather than have him face the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Daniel Bard also will pitch in a minor league game. With eight players fighting for seven bullpen spots, Bard could be headed back to Triple A Pawtucket. “We think he’s a lot further ahead than where he ended [last] season, probably still not all the way where he wants to be,” Cherington said . . . Ryan Dempster will start a minor league game Sunday, Felix Doubront one on Monday, and John Lackey one on Tuesday when the major league team is off . . . Pitchers Chris Carpenter, Terry Doyle, Chris Hernandez, and Oscar Villarreal were reassigned to minor league camp. Doyle, a Rhode Island resident and former Boston College player, had a 3.86 ERA over six appearances and 14 innings. Hernandez had a 3.97 ERA in five games. The 24-year-old lefthander will have a spot in the rotation at Pawtucket . . . The Sox are open to a trade if one presents itself. But don’t expect it. “In all likelihood, our Opening Day roster is going to be made up of guys who are here now,” Cherington said . . . Cherington said it was likely that righthander Rubby De La Rosa will start the season in Pawtucket . . . Righthander Brandon Workman, a second-round pick in 2010, will start against the Phillies Sunday.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.