PHOENIX -- On the day he was to start an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Reno, injured D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew responded to critical remarks Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick made about him earlier this week.
"I understand Ken's frustration," Drew told MLB.com Thursday. "I was just disappointed that he questioned my integrity."
Drew can be a free agent at season's end, and Kendrick said he felt Drew's focus was on that rather than on playing this year.
"I'm going to be real direct about Stephen," Kendrick said on XTRA Sports 910 AM. "I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now, frankly. I, for one, am disappointed. I'm going to be real candid and say Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that's paying his salary. All you can do is hope that the player is treating the situation with integrity," Kendrick said. "Frankly, we have our concerns."
Drew suffered an ankle injury last July 20 when his right foot caught underneath him while he slid into home plate.
The ankle twisted 180 degrees and fractured. He also suffered damage to three ligaments. He underwent surgery and has been rehabbing since. Drew spent the past offseason in Phoenix rather than at his home in Georgia, where he has spent all previous winters.
"I stayed in Phoenix and found the best rehab place I could -- someone who had experience working with these types [of injuries]," Drew said. "I worked every day to try and get better. I didn't take hardly any time off. I wanted to be back as soon as I could be."
Drew played in extended spring games as the club tried to build up his endurance. He said it was not until now that he felt able to go out on a rehab assignment.
A reluctance to push through soreness as some have suggested is not an issue, Drew said.
"There's a difference between being sore and being in pain," Drew said. "I know I'm going to be sore, and I expect to play through that. But pain is different and I've tried to be honest and open with the team every step of the way about how the ankle feels. I know what it takes to play in the big leagues, and I was not ready."
Drew said that having to watch his teammates struggle this year and not be able to help out has been hard.
"I want to be out there for my teammates," he said. "I want to be able to play the game that I've loved my whole life again. No one wants me to be out there more than me. I'm doing everything in my power."
Drew said his teammates have been supportive.
"They know I'm working hard," Drew said. "I want to be out there for them and my coaches. And anyone who knows me, knows my integrity and how important it is to me and how much I love playing this game."