PHOENIX — Stephen Drew is expected to make his return to the major leagues on Wednesday, a little more than 11 months after suffering a devastating right ankle injury on a play at home plate.
Drew, who spent the previous two weeks at Class AAA Reno, will finish his rehab assignment at Class AA Mobile this weekend, manager Kirk Gibson said, and if all goes well he will join the Diamondbacks in Atlanta on Wednesday, when his 20-day rehab assignment expires.
It would mark another milestone for Drew, whose ankle was turned at a 180-degree angle when his spikes caught in the dirt around the plate in a game against Milwaukee last July 20. Drew, who put his ankle back in place while he was lying on the ground at the plate, suffered a spiral fracture to the ankle and ligament damage.
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Drew’s role when he rejoins the team has not been defined, according to Gibson, who said earlier in the week that he does not expect Drew to be a regular starter, at least at the outset.
“I don’t know if I can sit here and say he will be available one day, two days, three days in a row. He may play a day and get really sore the next day,” Gibson said.
“We’ll get him involved when we think he can help the team win. At the same time, make sure we give good consideration to his ankle and his condition.”
Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald, who have started at shortstop this season in Drew’s absence, also took grounders at third base during pregame work last week, and McDonald has played there several times this season. Josh Bell appears to be the odd man out when Drew returns. Bell, who plays only third base, is hitting .184 since he was purchased from Reno on May 21.
“Obviously the rotation will be a little different. I don’t think we’ve figured out exactly how that rotation will be,” Gibson said.
Drew finished a second set of three consecutive games at Reno on Thursday, when he singled in four at-bats. He hit .250 with two home runs and five RBI in nine games with the Aces. He is scheduled to play Sunday and Monday in Mobile, Gibson said.
Drew was hitting .252 with five homers and 45 RBIs when he was injured last season. The year before, he hit .278 with 33 doubles, 12 triples, 15 homers and 61 RBI.
He is one of seven active players to have at least 10 doubles, 10 triples and 10 homers in the same season at least three times.