Drew provides steady hand on 'D' for D-backs

Drew provides steady hand on 'D' for D-backs

PHOENIX -- Unless it's absolutely necessary, D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew will not be duplicating Derek Jeter's patented jump-throw to first base anytime soon.

"I guess that's one of his trademarks," Drew said on Monday afternoon, before his club countered Jeter's Yankees at Chase Field. "If I had to do it, I could do it. But I usually take the other route.

"You're kind of your own self. As a person, you know what you can do and what you can't do. So, I'm not the guy that's going to be flashy. I just try to make the routine play and [make] the hard plays look easy."

Through 64 games this season, Drew made just three errors in 250 total chances at the infield's most demanding position, none in Arizona's past 41 games. He led the Major Leagues with a .988 fielding percentage, while Jeter (.983) sat fifth. (Going by Zone Rating, a trendier measuring stick, Jeter, 6.572, bested Drew, 6.028.)

"It's been good so far," said Drew, reticent to talk numbers before all 162 games are played. "Sometimes it's kind of the luck of the draw ... you get a hard-hit ball, you block it, and they give you an error, and it could have been a hit. Right now things are landing in the right area, so I'll just try to keep that up through the course of the year."

Drew wasn't among MLB's top five fielding shortstops in his first three full seasons, 2007-09, but wasn't a slouch either: He improved his fielding percentage each season, from .973 to .977 and .980 in 2009.

"I'm just trying to continually get better," he said.

And, just because he takes "the other route" to do it, doesn't mean he was denigrating Jeter, by the way. On the contrary.

"One of my favorite players growing up was Jeter," Drew said. "He was young. I watched him."

Jeter, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner who turns 36 on Saturday, initially cringed at that thought.

"I'm still young," he said with a serious face then relenting. "[I] appreciate it anytime someone has good things to say.

"I haven't really had an opportunity to see him much. We played him in New York [in 2007]. I'm well aware he's a great player. I ask his brother, [Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew] how he's doing all the time."