CLEVELAND -- For the first time since Game 6 of last year's World Series, Stephen Drew was back in action for the Red Sox on Monday night, batting eighth and playing shortstop against the Indians.
Drew was a free agent until re-signing with Boston on May 21.
"It felt good," he said after the Red Sox's 3-2 loss to the Tribe. "It's nothing new when you've got the same guys on the team, which really benefits all of us in that aspect. It felt good to get back out there with the guys and really good defensive-wise. I felt normal."
After spending a couple of days on the active roster but not playing, Drew was optioned to Class A Greenville on May 24 so he could get the at-bats necessary to be ready to play at the Major League level again.
Drew went 3-for-8 with Greenville before going 2-for-14 with Triple-A Pawtucket, the team he was recalled from Monday.
"It's an adjustment just from playing in Triple-A and doing some games down there," said Drew, who went 0-for-2 with a walk and handled everything that came his way in the field Monday. "Overall, I felt good, just getting back into things and not really playing catch-up as much as I prepare for the year. It's just game speed and seeing pitches and getting [at-bats]."
The left-handed-hitting veteran joins a team that is on a roll, having won seven in a row on the immediate heels of a 10-game losing streak.
"It's good, I'm just glad the team's back on track a little bit," said Drew. "They're playing good ball, I've been watching them."
Drew, 31, will be Boston's primary shortstop, while Xander Bogaerts moves back to third base, where he last played during the 2013 postseason.
Mike Carp had been playing first, but he is expected to be placed on the disabled list with a fractured right foot. Daniel Nava, who was optioned to Pawtucket just two days ago, flew to Cleveland on Monday morning and took Carp's spot on the roster.
Once Napoli returns, the Red Sox will utilize Holt in a super-utility role.
In 2013, Drew played in 124 games for Boston, hitting .253 with 13 homers, 67 RBIs and a .777 OPS. What the club appreciated most about Drew was his steady defense, which became spectacular during the World Series run in October.
Out of respect for Drew's different path for getting ready for the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell will monitor his playing time.
"I think initially we're still in the building phase of games played, and the repetition to it," Farrell said. "To say that he comes back and goes every day might be a little aggressive at this point. We'll look to pick our spots where there's the best matchup. But we've added a very good player to our roster who's going to make us better."