Despite the Sox’ loss to the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night (where Clay Buccholz made his return from the disabled list), I found something to be very, very excited about.
Jed Lowrie made his way back from the wilderness of the 60-day disabled list to start at short stop. And wouldn’t you know it, he had himself a nice little game — he went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and two walks, was patient enough to see 26 pitches, and from what I was able to see, looked pretty comfortable at shortstop, giving Marco Scutaro a rare day off.
Lowrie first won me over when he came up and took over shortstop from Julio Lugo midway through 2008 and played pretty well, posting a .739 OPS over 81 games and solidifying the position in time for the playoffs. I had high hopes going into the 2009 season.
Then came the injuries, and ’09 became a lost year.
Lowrie started the season by breaking his wrist almost immediately, and was on the disabled list by April 13. He had surgery, tried to come back, and re-aggravated the injury, which kept him out of the lineup until rosters expanded to 40 by September. Of course, by then he’d lost his job to Alex Gonzalez (brought over from Cincinnati). He did manage to hit a grand slam on the last day of the year, though, when he came in to play third base for Kevin Youkilis. But his wrist still hadn’t totally healed, and he didn’t have a feel for the game yet.
In the off season, the Sox signed Scutaro to a two-year deal, brought in Adrian Beltre to play third and Bill Hall to roam the infield as a utility guy. Clearly, the team didn’t have too much faith that Lowrie would be able to contribute.
And sure enough, Lowrie was diagnosed with Mono before the start of the season, and it was back to the disabled list.
In light of injuries to Dustin Pedroia, most of the outfield and even Mike Lowell, that Lowrie is back and (possibly?) contributing is huge. And as a fan, I love it. I didn’t expect him to come back this soon, or at all, but he’s an easy guy to root for.
Today, the Red Sox traded a player-to-be-named-later for Seattle infielder Jack Hannahan, and ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that it could signal the end of Lowrie’s days in Boston. Selfishly, I hope that’s not the case. But if it is, I’m glad that my last memory of him in Boston won’t be as just a listing of type under a roll call of the Sox’ injured.
But that’s getting ahead of things. Lowrie’s back, he’s healthy, and it looks like his career is back on track. For everyone involved, that’s fantastic.