BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox signed Stephen Drew to give their struggling offense a boost. Now, they’ve got to find a way to get Clay Buchholz fixed.
Buchholz was tagged for five runs – four earned – and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings as the Red Sox dropped their sixth straight game, 6-4 to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
“Inconsistent command. Far too many at-bats where he pitched behind in the count,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “Uncharacteristic from what we’re accustomed from Clay. When he made mistakes, it found the middle of the plate.”
Farrell said there are no health issues with the right-hander. He’s allowed 29 hits in 15 innings over his last three starts.
“Physically, no complaints,” Farrell said. “But we’ve got to get him to make some adjustments.”
Buchholz gave up a pair of homers to red-hot Edwin Encarnacion, who also hit a two homers in the series opener.
“He’s a dangerous hitter with tremendous power,” Farrell said. “You make mistakes, he makes you pay. This is a quick strike offense.”
Earlier in the day, the team made it official in the signing of Drew, who was hoping for a team to sign him to a contract.
Now that the Red Sox have come calling, he thinks he’ll need about nine or 10 days to be ready.
While the team is waiting for Drew to return, the offense sputtered again, leaving 11 on base.
“We continue to get double digit runners on base,” Farrell said. “At some point it’ll turn.”
Drew feels like he’s close to where he needs to be physically.
“The last five months I’ve been working real hard, seven days a week,” Drew said before the game after reporting to the Red Sox. “I didn’t take one day off, hitting, throwing and practicing, running bases and everything you can think of to be ready so I wouldn’t have had to sit out for a while.”
Drew was the shortstop on Boston’s World Series championship team last year, and the Red Sox gave him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million in the offseason. He turned it down, becoming a free agent, but any team that signed him would have owed the Red Sox draft choice compensation.
No market developed, so he was still waiting this week when Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks broke a finger. Boston signed Drew to a one-year pro-rated deal that will pay him exactly $10 million for the last 4½ months of the season; he is expected to play shortstop and Xander Bogaerts will move over to third base.
Bogaerts seemed to relax after making two errors in Tuesday’s loss. He went 3 for 4, driving in a run and scoring one.
The Red Sox are on their longest skid since dropping their final eight of the 2012 season.
“We’ve been able to add a really good player to this team,” Farrell said. “We know we’ve got some steps to go before he’s game ready.”
Drew said he had no regrets about losing $4 million in the exchange.
“All I wanted to do was going into the offseason was I wanted to be a true free agent. I guess that draft pick was a huge part of that,” he said. “Yes, it was hard. But it was one of those deals where I wanted to be a true free agent.”
Drew batted .253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs in 124 games with Boston last season and was a solid shortstop for the team that won Boston’s third World Series in 10 seasons.
“Playing for this team and this organization means a lot to me,” Drew said. “The biggest thing in this division, it’s still wide open. The biggest thing is they caught some tough breaks. It could have gone the other way.”