BOSTON -- While Red Sox fans continue to wait for the official announcement of J.D. Drew as their new starting right fielder and No. 5 hitter behind Manny Ramirez, speculation continues to swirl around what is holding up the five-year commitment to the veteran outfielder.
"There's some stuff in the medical reports that the team was not aware of," Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Tuesday. "It hasn't risen to the level of a dispute yet."
The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday that the team has concerns about the 31-year-old Drew's right shoulder, which was surgically repaired in September 2005. Former Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said at the time that he was aware of an arthritic condition in Drew's shoulder, just before signing the outfielder to a five-year, $55 million deal before the 2005 season.
According to the Globe, the issue of that same shoulder came up during a physical two weeks ago after agent Scott Boras and the club came to a preliminary agreement on a new five-year contract worth a reported $70 million.
Neither the team nor Drew's agent, Scott Boras, have commented publicly about the details of the hang-up, which could result in reworked contract language, including a clause protecting the Red Sox should the shoulder significantly limit Drew's playing time.
Orza confirmed the Sox raised questions about Drew's shoulder after the outfielder underwent his initial physical.
"We [the union] are not involved in it yet," Orza told the Globe. "Apparently, the parties are talking about the consequences of a procedure J.D. had, that in the opinion of the doctor, was designed to help further the rehabilitation of the shoulder."
The Boston Herald, which first reported the team's concerns regarding Drew on Saturday, reported on Tuesday that sources indicated that a resolution to the matter could be coming shortly, with the official contract announcement following immediately thereafter.
A valued left-handed hitter, Drew saw his slugging percentage fall to .498 this past season, 14 points below his career average, but he did finish with a flourish, slugging .683 in September.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.