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J.D. Drew already has his first nagging injury of 2011

Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox

BOSTON - JUNE 02: J.D. Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox runs as he watches his hit against the Oakland Athletics on June 2, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Buried in Nick Cafardo’s excellent Sunday notes column on the Boston Globe‘s website is this bit of troubling news for Red Sox fans: J.D. Drew has been experiencing discomfort in his hamstring this offseason and is likely to be limited when spring training opens later this month.

Drew battled hamstring problems throughout much of the 2010 season. He didn’t hit the disabled list once, but that seems likely to change this year if he is already having struggles here in early February.

The good news is that the Red Sox have enough depth to handle the two- or three-week stints when he goes down. Ryan Kalish is a well-rounded player and just about ready to become a big league regular. Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald are both quality backups, too.

Boston is used to Drew’s nagging injuries. He started only 127 games in 2010, 124 in 2009 and 105 in 2008. That he’s already having problems is unfortunate, but the Sox are prepared.

Drew, 35, is entering the final season of a five-year, $72 million contract that he signed in December of 2006. He has spoken a few times about retiring when the 2011 season concludes.