Drew can't avoid DL stint

Drew can't avoid DL stint

NEW YORK -- Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew pronounced himself "slightly better" from the back woes that have kept him out of action for the past week, but that wasn't enough to prevent his placement on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

With continued stiffness in his back -- not to mention a herniated disc -- Drew will be shut down for the next week. The move was made retroactive to Aug. 18, meaning the left-handed hitter is eligible to be activated on Sept. 2 against the Orioles.

"It's still pretty stiff," said Drew. "But it's headed in the right direction.

To fill Drew's spot in the lineup, the Red Sox will continue to play Coco Crisp in center field and start Jacoby Ellsbury in right.

Infielder-outfielder Joe Thurston's contract was purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket to add bench depth. In other roster news, right-hander Chris Smith was optioned back to Pawtucket, Tim Wakefield was activated to start Tuesday's game against the Yankees and Bartolo Colon was moved to the 60-day disabled list. The latter move was just a technicality to clear a spot for Thurston on the 40-man roster.

As for Drew, he underwent further tests with a spine specialist on Monday morning in New York.

"I had a really good day last Thursday in Toronto, and then I woke up the next morning and it felt terrible," Drew said. "It's better. It's not as stiff moving around. There are signs that we're going in the right direction, but maybe you don't want to go out there and swing right yet and blow something up again."

Bothered by back woes for much of his career, Drew first had problems this year just moments before Opening Day in Tokyo, where he had spasms during batting practice and had to be removed from the lineup.

"It's been really weird," said Drew. "That was one of the reasons we got the MRI, to see why it's kind of lingering and hanging around vs. kind of going away. I did it in Japan, and it stuck around for two or three days and was gone. This one has been kind of relentless for a little over a week."

Drew is hitting .280 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.