|Jed Lowrie: ‘I can get back up after being knocked down’||08.07.11 at 6:33 pm ET|
It is easy to forget that there was a stretch of this season when Jed Lowrie carried the Red Sox offense. At a time when the team was starved for runs in April, the switch-hitting shortstop was making the biggest impact, hitting .400 for much of the month with an OPS over 1.000, a continuation of his tremendous production in the second half of last year that allowed him to wrestle the starting shortstop job away from Marco Scutaro.
But Lowrie’s production returned to mortal levels in May, and then endured a dramatic decline near the end of the season’s second month, when he clipped his shoulder on left fielder Carl Crawford while both tried to make a catch in Detroit on May 29. Lowrie tried to play through the pain, but his shoulder lost significant strength, and his numbers took a nosedive. A 5-for-42 (.128) stretch brought his marks for the season down to a .270 average with a .319 OBP and .723 OPS, and helped to land him on the disabled list.
Now, nearly two months later, Lowrie is ready to be activated after having regained some of the strength he lost in the aftermath of his injury. He was 7-for-17 (.412) with four doubles and two walks during a five-game rehab stint in Triple-A Pawtucket, a stretch that will serve as a prelude to his activation on Monday as the Sox head to Minnesota to play the Twins.
“I feel good,” said Lowrie. “I accomplished everything I wanted to. … Just playing the whole game, making sure the legs feel good, seeing the ball well. I think I accomplished that.”
Lowrie said that he was pleased not just with his plate approach but also that he dove while on the field without any setbacks. He suggested that there will be no need “to hold anything back.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona suggested, however, that Lowrie’s playing time will need to be managed, at least initially, in order to ensure that he does not suffer a setback. For now, Lowrie would appear likely to split playing time with Scutaro as he rebuilds his stamina.
“He’s not ready to play every day,” said Francona. “But he doesn’t have to.”
A year ago, Lowrie was in a somewhat similar situation. After missing most of 2009 while recovering from wrist surgery, he missed the first half of 2010 while recovering from mono. He was a virtually forgotten player, but the season-ending injuries suffered by a number of Sox players (most notably to second baseman Dustin Pedroia) created an opening in the middle infield for the Sox.
Lowrie made the most of his playing time, hitting .287 with a .381 OBP, .907 OPS and nine homers in 55 games. That performance leaves him optimistic that he can return from this year’s significant long layoff to make an impact.
“I think it’s completely different circumstances, but I feel good,” said Lowrie. “I’ve proven that time and again, I can get back up after being knocked down. Having that experience helps.”
The Sox, of course, would welcome such an addition.
“He’s really swung the bat pretty well [during his rehab assignment]. Sometimes when guys are out for a while you just don’t know how they’re going to swing the bat,” said Francona. “Jed has proven when he’s healthy he’s a really good hitter. And when he’s not that’s when he makes outs. So I think it’s good that we took the slower route and got him healthy because it can really help us.”
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