Triple the Fun

When Shortstop Craig Counsell went down with an injury last season the Arizona Diamondbacks called Tucson Sidewinder Shortstop Stephen Drew up to take his place. Over the remainder of the 2006 season Drew showed why the Diamondbacks had drafted him in the first round. His hitting and fielding amazed even his most ardent fans. Drew’s performance led to the Diamondbacks not renewing Counsell’s contract and basically handing the starting job over to the rookie. While Drew exhausted his rookie status last season by collecting 209 at-bats; he is still viewed as a rookie for all intents and purposes. The question on everyone’s mind was how would Drew begin the 2007 season? Would he continue his hot hitting or would his statistics suffer when pitchers began making adjustments? The larger question though was defensive. Scouts and player personnel contacts all felt Drew’s offense would never be a question. Many thought Stephen would be an average fielder at best but given his plate discipline defense would be overlooked slightly.


Drew somewhat took offense to that as he felt his defense was much better than was being advertised. His time with the Diamondbacks last year made a very strong case that Drew’s assessment was much closer to reality than those of the scouts. This continued to hold true after yesterday’s split squad game against the Mariners. Drew was in the starting line up of the afternoon game going 2 for 3 at the plate maintaining a .667 batting average thus far in Cactus League action. That type of offense should be what everyone is talking about but instead it is Drew’s defense that made headlines. In the second inning Mariner Michael Garciaparra lined a ball up the middle with runners on first and second and no outs it appeared that the Mariners would score the tying run. Instead, Drew moved to his left towards the bag and snagged the line drive robbing Garciaparra of a hit. Drew’s momentum took him towards second base where he stepped on the bag to force out baserunner Mike Morris. Drew then threw a bullet to first baseman Tony Clark catching Michael Wilson out at first completing the first triple play of 2007 and only the second triple play in Diamondbacks history. Perhaps those scouts might want to rethink that assessment of Drew being an average fielder. So far he is everything the Diamondbacks had hoped he would be coming out of Florida State.


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