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Drew could be on verge of busting out

Drew could be close to busting out

ANAHEIM -- He hasn't gone on one of those torrid runs yet -- like the one where he basically carried the Red Sox last June. But that probably means that right fielder J.D. Drew is getting ready to do just that.

"Hopefully," Drew said. "I feel like I've had some really good swings. I'm not necessarily getting the results. When I get my pitch, have to do something with it."

The gifted Drew has the type of swing that can be held down for only so long. Entering Wednesday night's game against the Angels, Drew is hitting .253 with five homers and 18 RBIs.

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There are signs, however, that the numbers are about to go upward. Last Friday at Fenway, Drew clocked a two-run homer to break a tie in the bottom of the eighth. And in Tuesday night's opener of this six-game West Coast swing, Drew drilled a homer and provided a key single to set up Jason Varitek's game-winning hit in the ninth.

With Kevin Youkilis out until at least May 20 with a left oblique injury, this would be the perfect time for Drew to get hot.

"I don't feel like there's anyone in here who doesn't want to carry a little extra when guys are down and out," Drew said.

And fortunately for Boston, David Ortiz is also expected to be in the lineup. In a scary moment, Ortiz was hit in the left wrist by a pitch from Darren Oliver on Tuesday. The point of contact was exactly where Ortiz suffered his injury last year, causing him to miss seven weeks.

"It feels fine," Ortiz said. "Sometimes you wake up sore, but I should be fine."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (4-1, 2.93 ERA)
Wakefield has been Boston's best starting pitcher out of the gate, giving up three earned runs or fewer in five of his six starts. Wakefield's five quality starts lead the team. In his last start, Wakefield allowed four hits and two runs over six innings against the Indians. He walked four and struck out three in that one. This is Wakefield's second start of the season against the Angels. The first one was on April 10, when the righty allowed six hits and three runs over six innings.

LAA: RHP Matt Palmer (3-0, 3.06 ERA)
One of the surprise stories of the young season, the 30-year-old right-hander dispensed another strong outing against the Royals on Friday night, holding them to one earned run on two hits and three walks across 5 1/3 innings. Palmer had five strikeouts, continuing to baffle hitters with the movement on his cut fastball and sinker while mixing in off-speed stuff. This will be his seventh Major League start, and he feels he has found a new approach by improving his mechanics and getting a more direct path to home plate. The results have been impressive so far.

Tidbits
Youkilis is expected to be activated from the disabled list the first day he is eligible, which is May 20. ... Eleven of Drew's past 20 hits have been for extra bases. ... Jason Bay leads the Major Leagues with 12 RBIs in "close and late" situations. ... Third baseman Mike Lowell has hit in 22 of his past 25 games.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WEEI 850, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Red Sox (Brad Penny, 3-1, 6.90) at Angels (Ervin Santana, first appearance of season), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 2-3, 6.31) at Mariners (Chris Jakubauskas, 1-4, 7.67), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 3-2, 6.42) at Mariners (Erik Bedard, 2-1, 2.53), 10:10 p.m. ET

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

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