BY JOE McDONALD
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- J.D. Drew missed the last month-and-a-half of the regular season due to a herniated disk. Because of the injury, there was some doubt whether or not he would be able to perform at such an intense level that's needed in October.
The Red Sox' right fielder has stifled any doubt that's he's healthy enough to play. He went 4-for-14 with a double, a homer and three RBI in the ALDS against the Angels. In Game One of the ALCS against the Rays Friday night he went 1-for-3.
It was his fourth at-bat of the game in the top of the eighth inning that had some thinking "Here we go again."
Drew was drilled by a pitch in the shoulder by hard-throwing Rays reliever Grant Balfour. Drew twisted his way into the dirt after being struck and lay on his knees for a moment while manager Terry Francona and trainer Paul Lessard checked on him.
Fortunately for Drew, he made it to his feet and walked to first base. His shoulder wasn't the concern, it was the fact that he had to twist so suddenly to attempt to get out of the way of the pitch. After the game he said he was fine.
"I came out of it alive," he said. "You don't really want to dodge pitches at your head. My back's fine and my shoulder's fine."