Searching for answers, Drew heads to the bench
The Yankees have shown patience with Stephen Drew, searching for deeper numbers to show that his stat line doesn’t agree with his ability. As he was sent to the bench on Saturday, he continues to be puzzled by the trouble in hitting his weight.
Drew yielded second base to Jose Pirela on Saturday against the A’s, offered a day to clear his head in the midst of an 0-for-19 and 1-for-26 skid that has dropped the 32-year-old’s season average to .158.
“I’d like to be doing better up there at the plate,” Drew said. “I’ve got to also just trust my talent and know it’s a matter of time. I’ve had some good at-bats, and the past three days have been frustrating.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi defended Drew after his hitless performance in Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Athletics, saying, “It just doesn’t seem that he gets the rewards that he should when he hits the ball hard.”
One day later, Girardi said that Drew will continue to get opportunities to turn his season around, unwilling to announce any decisions about future playing time at second base. He did allow that there is a possibility that Pirela could earn more reps.
“Anyone can earn playing time,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line in this game, and that’s the way it’s always been. Have we made a position swing? No, not necessarily.”
The Yanks gave Drew a one-year, $5 million contract this past offseason, gambling that his sub-Mendoza line performance of 2014 was a fluke tied to his missing Spring Training while sitting out in a contract dispute with the Red Sox.
Drew enjoyed a more normal spring this year, remaining injury-free while fine-tuning his work at second base and helping to tutor shortstop Didi Gregorius, but the offensive results have not appeared.
Not surprisingly, Drew’s batting average and on-base percentage (.226) are the worst among all qualified big league second basemen; only the Braves’ Jace Peterson (.300) and the Phillies’ Chase Utley (.295) have lower slugging percentages than Drew (.303).
“It’s not the end of the year for me,” Drew said. “People can boo or whatever, the 25 guys that are here are what matters, and winning games is what matters for me.”