MINNEAPOLIS — Stephen Drew has never won a Gold Glove for his play at shortstop and probably never will. His style is defined far more by efficiency than flashiness.
It’s something that he works on.
“Some guys can do a lot of fancy stuff. But I try and make a hard play look routine,” Drew said before the Red Sox defeated the Twins, 3-2, in 10 innings Friday night. “Every time I take ground balls when working out, I’m always in a game mode. I never change that.”
Drew has committed one error this season.
“As advertised,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s played as we fully expected. Very dependable.”
Based on advanced defensive metrics, Drew was one of the best defensive shortstops in the National League in 2010 and ’11. That changed after he fractured his right ankle in July of 2011. He was out for nearly a year.
“He’s shown more range, probably consistent with the late-season video and scouting reports that we had on him last year after he came back from the ankle injury,” Farrell said.
Drew is back to a point where he will forsake easy plays at first base to get outs at second with difficult throws across his body. By cutting down the lead runner, it helps the pitcher.
It’s something he and second baseman Dustin Pedroia have become adept at.
“It’s not that you take chances. You have to get a good read off the bat. Having Pedey there makes things a lot easier,” Drew said. “It makes the game easier having him next to me. He’s a Gold Glove guy.”
Drew and Pedroia did not have much time together in spring training because Drew missed so much time with a concussion. But they adjusted quickly.
“The feed on the double play is always going to be on the back edge of second base where it should be for any guy looking to turn it,” Farrell said. “Their actions are so consistent that it reflects in their play.”
Pawtucket shortstop Jose Iglesias makes highlight plays with this athleticism and quick hands. But Farrell hopes that Red Sox fans will recognize what they have in Drew, who had a double and two walks in five plate appearances Friday night.
“When they see him over a longer period of time, they’ll recognize how good he is,” Farrell said. “He’s in many ways a very dependable defender. Sometimes that doesn’t show as flashy where it might catch the average fan’s eye. But when you look up after a hard-hit ball and he’s standing right there or ranges up the middle to his glove side, he’s a very good defender.”
Shane Victorino made two terrific catches in right field in the eighth inning Thursday night against the Rays, the first coming when he crashed into the wall to take at least a double away from Jose Lobaton.
The price he paid was a sore back and being left out of Friday’s lineup.
“Precautionary stuff,” Victorino said. “It’s minor.”
Victorino was clearly shaken up after the catch, to a point where Farrell and assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi came onto the field. But he waved them back into the dugout.
Victorino ended the inning with an over-the-shoulder grab of a deep fly ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings. His defense kept the score 3-1, and the Sox scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the game.
Victorino missed seven consecutive games this month with inflammation in a disk in his lower back. His current back soreness, he believes, is not related.
“It stiffened up,” he said. “But I think that’s all it is. I should be able to play tomorrow. It’s not anything that I’m worried about. This isn’t what I had before. At least I’m hoping [it’s] not.”
Said Farrell, “We’re hopeful that it’s a one-day thing where he’s off his feet today and he’s able to rejoin the lineup tomorrow. As hard as he plays — and I’m not going to say with reckless abandon — but obviously he doesn’t fear the wall. He’s been banged up the last couple of games.”
Napoli sits out
Until Friday, Mike Napoli had started every game this season. But he was out of the lineup as Mike Carp started at first base.
The Sox are in the middle of a stretch in which they play 20 games in as many days, and Farrell hopes to get every regular a day off before the next scheduled day off June 3.
Napoli also has been slumping, with 10 hits in his last 52 at-bats.
“I don’t think that’s the only factor,” Farrell said. “Certainly that’s one of them.”
Ross at home
Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list, had been scheduled to join the team this weekend. But he remained in Boston because of his symptoms and will not be examined until Monday.
As a result, Ross is not expected to be back on this road trip. The Red Sox have the option of putting him on the 15-day DL backdated to Sunday. Ross was concussed on Saturday when he took two foul balls off his mask.
“Much like we’ve seen with many other concussions, these things take on a life of their own,” Farrell said. “He’s still experiencing some lightheadedness and fatigue. So we’ve got to give it time.”
Although nothing has been scheduled, Farrell expects that Ross will meet with concussion expert Dr. Michael Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins was the doctor who treated Drew for his concussion in spring training.
Farrell has spoken to righthander Joel Hanrahan, who had Tommy John elbow surgery Thursday along with surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. Hanrahan, who will be a free agent after the season, will be out for at least a year. Farrell said that Hanrahan will be in Dallas for the initial stages of his rehab and will check in with the team periodically . . . Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch one inning for Triple A Pawtucket on Saturday. He is on the disabled list with a biceps strain. If the outing goes as expected, Bailey will be activated on Monday. Franklin Morales, out with a bad back, will start the game. It will be his fourth rehab start.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.