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Drew improving, but won't play in Cactus game

Drew improving, but won't play in Cactus game

Drew improving, but won't play in Cactus game
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Already ruled out for the regular-season opener, D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew said Thursday that he will likely not get into a game before the end of Spring Training.

The D-backs wrap up exhibition play Wednesday against the Brewers at Chase Field.

"I don't think I'm going to be able to unless things just drastically change," Drew said. "The way it's been to this point is it's a slow process."

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Slow maybe, but steady, and that was the club's goal when camp opened -- keep Drew moving in the right direction without pushing him too fast, which could result in a setback.

Drew fractured his right ankle and tore three ligaments in it when his spikes caught while sliding into home last July 20. Drew is to the point where he can take ground balls and hit and he has been running straight ahead at "about 80 percent."

The next step, he said, was to get some more endurance with the ankle running and then start running the bases.

"My thing is I know what it takes to play the game," Drew said. "Am I there yet? No. Have I progressed? Yes. I can do things now that I couldn't do when I first got here. It's gotten a lot better over the last four weeks, so that's good. But it's a slow process. Would I like to be playing? Yeah, but at the same time, I know what the everyday grind of playing short is like, so it's one of those things where I'm going to keep working until I'm right and when I'm right, I'll be ready to go."

At least publicly, the D-backs have not seemed to rush Drew, deferring to his knowledge of his body when deciding when to take steps forward. Manager Kirk Gibson has been steadfast in his refusal to put a timeline on Drew's recovery.

"The trainers have done a great job," Drew said. "Gibby has been great about listening to me and getting feedback and KT [GM Kevin Towers] as well. We've talked and there's no reason to try and rush it right now. There have been days that have been tough, but overall it's not like I haven't been able to go out and do it. Does it sometimes bother me? Yes. But I was able to keep taking steps forward without going back."

As for when he might get into a game, not to mention when he could be ready to play in the big leagues, Drew does not have a timeline in mind.

"No, it's too hard to say with this kind of injury," he said. "I don't have an idea. You can't look that far ahead, you can only take it day by day, just see where you're at."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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