D-Backs call up Drew

D-Backs call up Drew

PHOENIX -- The future is now for at least one Diamondbacks prospect.

After veteran shortstop Craig Counsell broke a rib in the seventh inning of Friday night's win over the Brewers, Arizona called up highly touted shortstop Stephen Drew from Triple-A Tucson following the game.

Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said that Counsell will likely miss three to six weeks. Drew did not play in the Sidewinders game on Friday night at Las Vegas, but Melvin would not say whether he would start on Saturday.

"We'll see," Melvin said after Friday's game. "For the most part, I've let guys sit down over there for a day to get their legs under them."

With the Brewers sending All-Star and former D-Back Chris Capuano to the mound on Saturday, utility infielder Damion Easley could get the nod at shortstop instead of Drew. Easley is 3-for-4 lifetime against Capuano with a home run and two RBIs.

Saturday's game will be Drew's first glimpse of life at the Major League level. He was Arizona's first round pick (15th overall selection) in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

While the D-Backs were in contract negotiations with Drew's agent Scott Boras, he played for the Camden Riversharks of the Independent Atlantic League for the early part of the 2005 season. He led the team in batting average (.427), slugging (.744), and on-base percentage (.484).

After signing a five-year, $5.5 million contract with the D-Backs on May 31, 2005, Drew -- who was an All-American at Florida State -- quickly stormed through the Arizona farm system and he spent the remainder of the season with Class A Lancaster and Double-A Tennessee.

"It was a relief," Drew said during a press conference on June 3, 2005, to announce his signing. "Arizona was interested in me and had enough commitment to stick with me, and it's a great feeling as a player to have that."

Drew, who is the younger brother of Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew, hit .284 with 16 doubles, 13 home runs and 55 RBIs in his first season with Tucson. He committed a team-high 15 errors in 33 games as well.

"Stephen's got a chance to be an All-Star-type of performer in the Major Leagues," D-Backs scouting director Mike Rizzo said during last June's press conference. "We think he's going to be a middle-of-the-lineup hitter that plays a premium position."

Like J.D., Stephen has already suffered a fair number of injuries so far in his young career. He missed seven games with the Riversharks with a leg injury and was forced to miss time in each of his three seasons with the Seminoles.

Lindsey Frazier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.