Red Sox's Stephen Drew cleared to practice, will not start Opening Day

It has been over two weeks since Red Sox starting shortstop Stephen Drew was hit in the head, but a visit to Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh gave Red Sox Nation a collective sign of relief as it was revealed that Drew can begin baseball activities again. Dr. Collins also revealed that while Stephen Drew is still experiencing concussion symptoms, his concussion does not appear to be a long term injury (so his missed time will be much shorter than say, Justin Morneau, who missed 81 games in 2010). Manager John Farrell reported that
He’s improved. I will say it’s not completely cleared, but better than it was three days ago before he left. Dr. Collins gave him some assurances that it’s not going to be on the long end of the spectrum with recovery.

For those who have never had a concussion before, let me tell you how awful it can be. While you look normal to those around you, you have problems focusing, remembering easy tasks and you have a constant headache that can either be painful or just downright irritating. These symptoms can last days, weeks, even years. Many professional athletes have had to retire because of too many concussions, or because their symptoms prevented from getting back on the field. The quickest way to recover from a concussion is resting the brain; stay away from light, the computer, TV and reading or thinking. The hope is that Drew will spend his time off away from all of the stimuli and be back on the field soon.

Manager John Farrell noted that there will be no time frame for Drew in terms of when he comes back to join the Red Sox for games, so Drew is left with limited activities like stretching, throwing and hitting in a cage until the start of the season. It was also revealed that Stephen Drew will not play in any major league Grapefruit games this Spring. Therefore, when the season starts, the Red Sox can put him on the 15-day disabled list and then back date his injury so that Drew will only miss the first three days of the season, or two games versus the Yankees. All of this is only plausible IF Stephen Drew continues to progress as Dr. Collins believes he will. Until then, look for the light-hitting Jose Iglesias (who hit just .118 in 25 games last year for the Red Sox) to take over as the opening day shortstop of your 2013 Boston Red Sox. For more on the Red Sox's options at SS to start the season, read 's own Ryan MacLeod here.

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