FORT MYERS, Fla. – J.D. Drew has been one of the least talked about and least written about players on the Boston Red Sox roster this offseason.

And that’s probably OK with him.

Entering the fourth year of a five-year, $70 million contract, the Red Sox right fielder is often criticized by fans, media and opposing scouts as not being on the field often enough, succumbing to various injuries. In 2008, he appeared in just 109 games as a bad back limited him.

But in 2009, he played in 137 games, fourth-most in his 12-year career, despite a nagging left shoulder injury that required offseason surgery.

”Just a little shoulder surgery that I had, cleaning up some bone spurs on my AC joint,” he said

”It was giving me fits throughout the year last year. Really didn’t know what was going on. We never took any pictures or did anything during the season. It only got worse as the offseason went along. Came in around Thanksgiving, had that done, feel great now.”

The surgery was in his non-throwing, shoulder. It also was not the shoulder that would allow the Red Sox to opt out of his contract if he spends 35 days on the disabled list in 2009 or 2010 with an injury related to a preexisting right shoulder condition.

Drew said his offseason workouts were limited to running until January. He said he has no restrictions on his spring training activities.

Although he said the shoulder didn’t bother him during games, he had two cortisone shots — one at the end of the season — and missed four of the last five games before returning for the final game of the regular season and the playoffs.

”I had some time where there were days when it was a lot worse than others,” he said. ”The worst part of it was batting cage and doing your early work stuff where repetition of swinging the bat kind of got it aggravated.

”There were times in the cage with (hitting coach Dave Magadan) where I would swing and just kind of say, ‘All right, I’m done. This is going to get too aggravated for me to go out there and play the game.’ So I would just shut it down, and then we clinched and I told (Manager Terry Francona), ‘This thing has really been getting to me a little bit.’ ”


RANGERS: Texas left-hander Derek Holland threw a lengthy bullpen session, his first work from the mound since spraining a knee last week.

”I had a little bit of adrenaline flowing,” said Holland, who sprained his right knee during an agility drill Feb. 20. ”Nobody likes to be on the tables in the training room.”


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