Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew responded to the comments made on Tuesday by D-backs managing partner Ken Kendrick. In a radio interview Kendrick accused Drew and his representatives of focusing more on his future than his current commitment to the Diamondbacks organization. Drew is being paid $7.75 million this season and has a $13 million mutual option for 2013.
In an interview with MLB.com on Thursday, Drew responded saying he "understands Ken's frustration," but is " disappointed that he [Kendrick] questioned [his] integrity."
Drew started for Triple-A Reno in his rehab assignment on Thursday. It was his first game since breaking his ankle in late 2011. Drew hit a line drive single to right field in his first at-bat and also played all nine innings.
As noted by Drew, the frustration by Kendrick and other D-backs fans is understandable, especially considering Drew's lengthy return to the baseball diamond. The 29-year old is a crucial piece to the D-backs' success, and with his absence, the team is missing one of its best offensive threats in the team's lineup.
"I think achieving the success that Mr. Kendrick has in his life that he would respect the commitment and focus and the effort of Stephen Drew, who has demonstrated that on the field when he went all out to score for his team from second base and badly injured his ankle at home.
"Consistent with that effort, it's pretty clear that a person of that ilk like Stephen Drew would do everything he can by going all out to return."
He also suggested that it "makes no sense" for Drew to be focusing on free agency.
Clearly, there is frustration on the team's part that his recovery is taking so long. It seems like every time tere us progress made, there is a setback.
He broke his ankle last July sliding into home. He begins a rehab assignment in Triple-A Reno on Thursday.
Arizona Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick shook things up a little bit when, on local radio, he called out injured shortstop Stephen Drew, saying that he felt that Drew and his people were more concerned about his playing a year from now and not right now, expressing "doubts" that Drew is handling the injury situation with integrity.
When manager Kirk Gibson was asked if he had seen or heard the comments by Kendrick, he simply said , "I did not...I'm really not privy to those comments and I don't think it's appropriate for me to sit and comment on that situation."
However, he did comment on Drew, rather than on the comments that Kendrick made. "He's coming in here and he's doing what I'm asking him to do," he explained about Drew and his efforts. It has always been a case of "when he's comfortable and he's ready to play," but then added, "we can't force him to play."
When asked if he was comfortable where Drew was at in his progress, he sidestepped it, saying, "I think I've already discussed that."
Clearly, he was not going to say anything to confirm what Kendrick had said, even though Kendrick said that, while he had not personally had conversations with Drew about the concerns about his dedication to coming back and playing, there were those who had spoken to the shortstop. Gibson was also not going to put one of his players on the spot in that situation, when he has yet to play a game for the team this year.
At the same time, his completely avoiding the opportunity to strongly stand behind Drew is just as telling. Sometimes the lack of an answer is an answer itself.
However, as a manager, he has to trust his player if he says he's not ready. If Drew is telling him he needs more time, he has to give him that.
But there is no denying that, with the way that the Diamondbacks have been playing, it is hard to think that an almost there Drew wouldn't be an upgrade over Willie Bloomquist or even an overachieving John McDonald.