When news broke that shortstop Stephen Drew would be missing an extended period of time to begin the season, fans were left wondering how the team would perform in his absence. With his replacement, Willie Bloomquist, emerging as a threat at the plate and on the basepaths it’s left many people asking ‘Stephen who?’.
With Drew hoping to return sometime over the weekend, Bloomquist’s role with the team going forward is an issue manager Kirk Gibson plans on resolving soon.
“He’ll certainly have an impact for us in the future one way or the other, whether he’s starting or not,” Gibson said on Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash. “He can play really any position.”
The ASU alum continued his strong start with two hits and an RBI in Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Cubs. Bloomquist now boasts a .348 batting average and a .400 on-base percentage this season.
“He’s been a catalyst for us on this whole road trip,” Gibson said. “He’s swung the bat real well, got on the bases and [has] been really really aggressive.”
In regards to his aggressiveness, Bloomquist added another stolen base on Wednesday to his league-leading total of five. His first home run of the season came during Monday’s first at-bat of the game and provided the team’s only run in the loss.
Due to a strained abdomen, Drew has been limited to one pinch-hit appearance but has increased his workload over the past several days. With Bloomquist playing so well in his absence, Drew is most likely itching to get back out to his spot on the field as soon as he can in the next few games.
According to the manager though, Bloomquist shouldn’t worry about getting his chances from here on out. He’s done enough to prove he deserves them.