BOSTON (AP) Stephen Drew was working out in Arizona, hoping for a team to sign him to a contract.
Now that the Boston Red Sox have come calling, he thinks he'll need about nine or 10 days to be ready.
''The last five months I've been working real hard, seven days a week,'' Drew said Wednesday after reporting to the Red Sox. ''I didn't take one day off, hitting, throwing and practicing, running bases and everything you can think of to be ready so I wouldn't have had to sit out for a while.''
Drew was the shortstop on Boston's World Series championship team last year, and the Red Sox gave him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million in the offseason. He turned it down, becoming a free agent, but any team that signed him would have owed the Red Sox draft choice compensation.
No market developed, so he was still waiting this week when Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks broke a finger. Boston signed Drew to a one-year pro-rated deal that will pay him exactly $10 million for the last 4 1/2 months of the season; he is expected to play shortstop and Xander Bogaerts will move over to third base.
The Red Sox lost five straight heading into Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays - their longest skid since dropping their final eight of the 2012 season.
''We've been able to add a really good player to this team,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ''We know we've got some steps to go before he's game ready.''
Drew said he had no regrets about losing $4 million in the exchange.
''All I wanted to do was going into the offseason was I wanted to be a true free agent. I guess that draft pick was a huge part of that,'' he said. ''Yes, it was hard. But it was one of those deals where I wanted to be a true free agent.''
Drew batted .253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs in 124 games with Boston last season and was a solid shortstop for the team that won Boston's third World Series in 10 seasons.
''Playing for this team and this organization means a lot to me,'' Drew said. ''The biggest thing in this division, it's still wide open. The biggest thing is they caught some tough breaks. It could have gone the other way.''