Drew loyal to Nats despite offers to start elsewhere

Drew loyal to Nats despite offers to start elsewhere

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Stephen Drew said he had offers to start with other teams as he spent this offseason as a free agent.

And yet, he decided to sign a one-year deal to return to the Nationals in January because he was comfortable in this situation, even if it meant accepting a role coming off the bench.

"I think the role last year was really good for me," Drew said. "It's hard. You know you want to start, but at the same time I really enjoyed what I did last year, too."

Drew excelled during his first year in Washington, his first year playing a part-time role. He hit .266/.339/.524 with an .864 OPS and eight home runs in 70 games, although he was slowed during the second half of the year by vertigo-like symptoms that did not disappear completely until the offseason finished.

Drew's charging play

Drew was happy to have those issues behind him as he began Spring Training this week. He has become a valuable member of the Nationals because of his experience at shortstop, which he is passing along to Trea Turner, and his versatility to play second base and third base.

"When you get to a certain point, it's about the total package," manager Dusty Baker said. "Travel, convenience, family, team, winning. So you start checking them off, and this was one of the places that he thought was best for him."

Worth noting
Max Scherzer has progressed as he waits for the stress fracture in his right knuckle to completely heal. He has played catch every day, including a long-toss session on Monday that impressed Baker.

"I was really shocked he was throwing as hard as he was, and as well as he did," Baker said.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.