Drew joins team, makes start at shortstop

Drew joins team, makes start at shortstop

Drew joins team, makes start at shortstop
OAKLAND -- Only time will tell if Stephen Drew's offensive ability is greater than his current numbers suggest, but the only certainly at this point is that there's not much of it.

Just six weeks remain on the A's regular season calendar, and Drew's production during that span could help determine Oakland's fate in the standings. Acquired late Monday night from the D-backs, Drew's time with the A's began immediately, as he was inserted into the lineup batting second and playing shortstop Tuesday against the Twins.

It will mark just his 41st game of the season, having missed a lot of time because of an ankle injury he incurred last season. He enters his A's debut batting .193 -- but his talent level is much higher, he believes.

"I do, I really do, but that's just baseball," Drew said. "I know it's a numbers' game, but at the same time it's one of those things were you hit lineouts really hard and don't get the results you want. You wish it would fall for you.

"My thing is, I'm going to try to put good at-bats together. That's all you can do. You can't control where the ball goes. For me, I'm going to try to just produce good at-bats and play good defense and hopefully help get this team back into the race."

Drew is a career .266 hitter who enjoyed his best seasons under the tutelage of manager Bob Melvin, for whom he batted .291 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs in 2008.

"He helps a team all the way around," Melvin said. "I know he's had some struggles this year, at least on the surface looking at the numbers. But I've seen this guy be an all-around player. He can defend, he swings the bat well, he drives the ball, he knocks in runs. He's a guy that can move around in the lineup. He's one of the shortstops around the league that everybody looks at and says this guy can be an impact guy, not only offensively but defensively as well."

With Drew now manning shortstop, former incumbent Cliff Pennington will shift -- temporarily, he hopes -- to second base, where he'll share duties with Adam Rosales, following Jemile Weeks' demotion.

"He would probably tell you that he's still a shortstop and I would want him to think that way, but right now his opportunity is at second base," Melvin said of Pennington. "Talking to him today, he understands that and he's going to work as hard as he can to be a very good second baseman."

Drew, meanwhile, will wear No. 5, the number that his Triple-A manager and current A's bench coach Chip Hale previously donned. Hale now sports No. 8, which Kurt Suzuki wore before his trade to Washington.

"This is a good start for me, a good fresh start," Drew said. "I'm happy to be here. Hopefully I can help this team win.

"I feel 100 percent. I feel really good. With that injury, I didn't know where I was going to be, and working really hard in the offseason and getting it really healthy, I feel really good where I'm at now. My range has gotten back to where it needs to be here at short, and I feel like it's back to normal."