New York Yankees middle-infielder Stephen Drew broke an 0-for-17 slump on Tuesday and gained nearly 20 points on his anemic batting average. But is it enough to take the pressure off the struggling infielder?
On Monday his batting average looked a lot like the underperforming 2014 Drew many fans feared when he was re-signed. Drew was batting .149 on Monday, .167 on Tuesday, and by the time the three game series ended on Wednesday, his average was .163 These paltry numbers are becoming all too familiar, leaving fans wondering what the Yankees should do with the struggling infielder.
Mar 5, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Jose Pirela (63) at bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates at a spring training baseball game at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Drew problem, as laid out by A NJ.com article is that the infield options are limited. In order to eliminate Drew and his anemic batting average you have to replace him with someone. The options are limited, to put it kindly. The infield options for shortstop and second have not been encouraging. Brendan Ryan has had one injury setback after another and has not played this season. Gregorio Petit was just replaced by Jose Pirela and Didi Gregorious has not performed as well at shortstop as many hoped.
Outside of Drew’s terrible batting average he hasn’t played poorly. As expected he has provided solid defense and while his hits have been few and far between, they have actually been solid and timely. He has 10 RBI and has scored 7 runs. Of his 13 hits, Drew has three doubles and four home runs, included a pinch hit grand slam against the Baltimore Orioles. At times it does seem possible that Drew can return to his lifetime .255 batting average given enough playing time.
The questions about how long the Yankees can wait to see what happens with Drew’s bat will only grow as Jose Pirela was activated for Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Pirela, who looked as if he was going to make the big league team out of spring training but was sidelined with a concussion started at second on Wednesday and went 2-for-4 with a double. Drew started at shortstop, as Didi Gregorious was given the night off.
Wednesday’s lineup offers another option; the Yankees may consider returning Drew back to natural position at short and giving Gregorious a rest. In looking at the available options, none of them seems immediately appealing. What is most likely is the three infielders Drew, Gregorious, and Pirela will share time until one of them (hopefully) stands out one way or the other.
It is difficult to watch Drew struggle offensively for the second straight season, but he is a good defensive infielder who is providing solid defense at second. The question of how long the Yankees will go with the experienced glove will probably be answered by Pirela’s bat.
What do you think the Yankees should do with Drew? Let us know in the comments below.