Lowrie: ‘I’m an asset to that team’
|07.08.10 at 11:12 pm ET|
Playing in his second rehab game with the Lowell Spinners Thursday night, shortstop Jed Lowrie looked comfortable at the plate and in the field. But the question going forward will be whether he is able to continue to do just that. In the past few seasons, after all, he hasn’t been able to remain healthy for prolonged stretches.
After dealing with a wrist injury in 2008 that required surgery in 2009, Lowrie was diagnosed with mononucleosis this spring, sidelining him for the start of the season. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26 and was later transferred to the 60-day DL on April 14.
Lowrie worked out and improved his condition in Fort Myers, allowing him to begin his rehab stint starting with Single-A Lowell.
“If you’re in Fort Myers, other than the guys who just got drafted and the rookies, it’s because you’re injured,” Lowrie said before Thursday night’s game against Jamestown. “It’s not where you want to be, but it was the place for me to be until I got healthy.”
Though he still has a long road ahead of him, Lowrie is glad to be back on any field.
“It feels good. I feel a lot healthier than I have in a long time,” Lowrie said. “That was my goal coming in, to feel healthy. Once I got healthy, baseball will take care of itself.”
Lowrie has no timetable for a potential return to the majors.
“Well, I’m one game into it. I’ve played one game since spring training,” Lowrie said. “[Thursday night] will be the first time I’ve played in the field since spring training.”
Playing shortstop, Lowrie was solid in the field while going 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk and a two-out RBI single. He was taken out of the game in the sixth. The fact that he did not play a complete game in the field is a signal of the lingering effects of the strength-sapping illness that he suffered.
While his illness this year was a source of frustration, Lowrie has experienced progress with his wrist. The 26-year-old is hopeful an issue that impaired him down the stretch in 2008 and wiped out much of last year is not behind him in his career.
“I think it’s really the silver lining in all of this that it gave my wrist a little time to heal,” Lowrie said. “I just have to get used to the different anatomy I have because I got a bone taken out. It feels good, I have no complaints. I’m one game into it and my batting practice has been very aggressive with my swing on both sides. I’m excited about it.”
With several Sox out with injuries, Lowrie can only sit back and watch. Boston could use as many players as possible at the moment, but Lowrie knows he must be patient and wait until he’s fully recovered before rejoining the parent club.
“Well, I know when I’m healthy and ready to go that I can help that team no matter who is hurt or who is healthy,” Lowrie said. “You never want to see anybody get hurt, let alone however many guys are on the DL right now.”
Two players on the DL right now are corner infielder Mike Lowell and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. While Lowrie played shortstop on Thursday — his primary position with the Sox in parts of two big league seasons — he could potentially switch his position based on team needs. He has experience playing second at both the collegiate and pro level, but a permanent transfer from shortstop is not on Lowrie’s mind.
“I played second through college, but that was because my coaches asked me to and I thought we were a better team with me at second base,” Lowrie said. “I knew in my heart that I could be an everyday shortstop and I needed a couple of years to play the game at a higher level, but I knew in my heart that I could play shortstop.”
With as long of an absence as Lowrie has had, he’s been virtually forgotten by many fans. When he returns to the Red Sox, Lowrie could quickly remind everyone of his talents. He does not merely view his value in terms of a fill-in for injured players but instead as a quality big leaguer even for a healthy club.
Said Lowrie: “I know that I’m an asset to that team no matter what the situation.”
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