Stephen Drew's concussion remains a problem, Alex Hassan's foot is improving, and Mitch Maier's MRI results revealed
Stephen Drew is still experiencing concussion symptoms from a hit-by-pitch sustained on March 7. The Red Sox are understandably concerned with his condition, and are sending him off to Pittsburgh to see concussion specialist Dr. Collins. According to manager John Farrell, this lowers the chances of Drew in the Opening Day lineup.
Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias will take over at short for the Red Sox should Drew indeed begin the year on the disabled list, leaving Pedro Ciriaco as the utility infielder. Iglesias is in his final option year, and whether he's sent down in mid-April or before the season begins, that option will be burned in 2013 eventually. That's a bit of a shame, given it means his clock for development is a little shorter than you'd like given his age and the proximity of his bat from being big-league ready. But, it's also good to see the Red Sox have a guy who can step in and field the position well, if nothing else, when their starting shortstop goes down. Unlike, say, the Cardinals, who will play Peter Kozma and maybe a guy they're considering not even bothering with in Ronny Cedeno now that Rafael Furcal is out for the year.
Alex Hassan has yet to participate in a spring training game thanks to a stress fracture in his foot sustained in the off-season, but he will make his debut today according to Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald. Hassan will play a game in minor-league camp with the Triple-A players, rather than in big-league camp. That by itself isn't news, as Hassan was part of last week's round of cuts, but the fact he's finally playing is good news.
Hassan was added to the 40-man roster to protect him and his plate discipline from the Rule 5 draft, but he'll have to take steps forward with his power at Triple-A Pawtucket for him to survive on what is and will continue to be a crowded roster. If he can more consistently use his lower half in his swing, that very well might happen, but it hasn't yet in his professional career.
Mitch Maier, who was a non-roster invite to spring training after signing a minor-league deal this winter, has a "pretty severe sprain" of his wrist according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. An MRI revealed the damage, and this has resulted in Maier staying in a splint. Maier was expected to remain a non-roster player with the Pawtucket Red Sox, though, how much playing time the 31-year-old was going to end up with even before the injury was kind of up in the air.
With Hassan and Bryce Brentz back, the Red Sox will have something like five outfielders who merit playing time on the roster already, assuming Jackie Bradley, Juan Carlos Linares, and Jeremy Hazelbaker all start the year on that roster. Maier has over 1,000 plate appearances in the majors saying he's minor-league depth, but the Sox seem to have plenty of that on hand already.
Of course, back when Maier was signed, he was brought on because you never know how things will look come the season's start. Had Brentz's accident happened a few weeks later, or Hassan's stress fracture waited until camp opened, Maier might have a different role ahead of him for at least the start of the minor-league season than what he'll contend with now.