ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees believed that a full spring of preparation would allow Stephen Drew to return to his previous form as a big league hitter. Though there have been flashes of promise, the infielder's struggles have largely spilled over into the 2015 season.
Drew was out of the starting lineup on Thursday as the Yankees wrapped up their four-game series at Tropicana Field. He has just 18 hits in 102 at-bats for a .176 average, but manager Joe Girardi said that he has confidence the 32-year-old Drew will be able to put it together.
"I still think it. I watch his at-bats and I just feel that he's about to go off on a hot streak," Girardi said. "He gets a few hits one day, and it just hasn't happened, which I'm surprised [about]. I really am surprised."
A regular contributor to a World Series-winning Red Sox club in 2013, Drew did not make his season debut until last June 2. He had rejected a qualifying offer from Boston in the offseason, then signed a one-year deal with the club in May.
That provides a sample size of 117 games since June 2 of last year in which Drew has batted just .166 (62-for-373) with 11 homers and 36 RBIs, perhaps creating a scenario where Jose Pirela can supplant the veteran for playing time.
"I thought he had a good Spring Training," Girardi said of Drew. "He's had some big hits for us, but it hasn't necessarily carried over into his average for us this year. I still think he's going to hit."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.