If there is a question and answer period at the Shoot for the Heart seminar on Jan. 4, one of the queries that might be directed at Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew is, “Will you be ready on opening day?”
An answer from Drew would mark a prestigious moment in Shoot for the Heart history because fans, boosters, sports journalists, and even Diamondback big wigs, are wondering if Drew has sufficiently recovered from a broken ankle to return to the Arizona lineup when the 2012 season kicks off April 6 vs. San Francisco.
Drew suffered the injury, which was called “gruesome” on a sports blog, while sliding into home plate in a game vs. the Brewers and underwent surgery the following day.
It was reported he suffered ligament damage along with a broken bone, which can slow the recovery process.
About his return for the season opener, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told the media recently, “We don’t know, but (the team trainer) seems to think he’ll be ready, if not to start the season, then shortly after.”
While Drew will probably be asked plenty of baseball questions at Shoot for the Heart, his purpose for attending is to share his passion for the outdoor way of life and faith in God that, some say, now defines his life.
His appearance at Shoot for the Heart will not be his first in Payson.
In 2009 he visited Rim Country Middle School as part of a Diamondbacks contingent participating in the APS hometown tour.
Drew was a big time hit with the students playing games, answering questions and signing autographs.
To those in attendance it became quickly obvious Drew is a spiritual man when many of his autographs contained uplifting and motivational references to faith.
In speaking to the students, Drew also referenced his passion for the outdoors saying he has loved to hunt and fish since he was a young boy living in Hahira, Ga.
Drew’s finest season in the majors was 2008 when he hit .291, slugged 21 home runs, scored 91 runs and recorded a career high 67 RBIs.
Defensively, he turned 85 double plays while fielding .976.
Drew played collegiately at Florida State and eventually became one of the highest draft picks the Diamondbacks had ever signed.