Drew out of lineup for opener with O's
Outfielder battling back stiffness, expected to return Saturday
BOSTON -- J.D. Drew didn't start for the second consecutive game on Friday, despite manager Terry Francona's belief on Wednesday that the right fielder would be ready to go for the series opener with the Orioles.
Drew, who tweaked his back in the middle innings of Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Twins -- he eventually left the contest -- continued to feel stiffness as he came to the ballpark on Friday.
"It's a little stiff, but not too bad," Drew said. "[I'm] probably a day away, just to be on the safe side. Considering how it was the other day, [it's] a lot better."
Francona said that Drew's back continued to get stiffer and stiffer during Tuesday's contest, prompting him to shuffle his outfield and insert Coco Crisp for the later innings. Drew did not play on Wednesday in the series finale with Minnesota, and both he and Francona expect him to return to the lineup on Saturday.
"He's better, but not as good as I'd hoped," Francona said.
Drew said that missing Friday's game is more of a precautionary measure than anything else.
"I got up today and was still a little stiff, and the last thing I want to do is go out there in the third inning and do something again and have to come out of the game," he said. "We'll evaluate tomorrow when I get up. But we'll treat it some more today and go from there."
Speaking of Crisp, he's also a little dinged up, and wasn't in the lineup against the O's. Manny Ramirez made his second consecutive start in left field, with Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Brandon Moss in right.
"His [left] forearm is a little beat up," Francona said of Crisp. "Sometimes it sounds crazy, but between diving and running the walls, he's just a little beat up."
Francona said that Crisp wasn't feeling 100 percent even before he entered the game for Drew on Tuesday. But with Ramirez's right hamstring injury subsiding, making him available to play the outfield, Francona was in no rush to bring back Crisp or Drew too quickly.
And in the case of Crisp, who is batting 1-for-5 lifetime with a strikeout against Friday starter Brian Burres, Francona said that the numbers dictated it would not be a smart move to send him out there not at full strength.
"Really, [Crisp's injury] is nothing we ... I don't want to say worry, because we care about everybody," Francona said. "But when you couple that with who's pitching, some of the numbers, it kind of makes sense."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.