Lowrie eager to hit field for Red Sox

Updated: July 20, 2010, 10:09 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Help has arrived for the Boston Red Sox.

Utility infielder Jed Lowrie has rejoined the club and will likely be activated Wednesday. He's missed the entire season after contracting mono during spring training. He now has no limitations and he said he feels healthy and ready to contribute.

Lowrie I've been asked about timetables and percentages for the last two years. I feel healthy and that's good enough for me right now.

-- Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie

"I'm just looking to play baseball and not have to think about all this," Lowrie said. "I want to put it all behind me and just let my ability play."

The 26-year-old infielder was limited to 32 games in 2009 after having surgery on his left wrist to repair a torn ligament in April. Ironically, he was placed on the disabled list while the team was here at the start of last season.

He first suffered the wrist injury in May 2008 and played through the discomfort before he was deemed healthy in time for spring training in 2009. The wrist began to aggravate him again toward the end of camp before it was finally decided he would finally have the surgery.

Lowrie returned to the Sox's lineup on July 18 at Toronto and played in 14 games before returning to the DL. He was reinstated on Sept. 8 and finished the season on the active roster.

During the offseason, the Red Sox signed shortstop Marco Scutaro and Lowrie felt he would battle for the starting job during spring training before the mono completely shut him down.

"I've been asked about timetables and percentages for the last two years," Lowrie said. "I feel healthy and that's good enough for me right now.

"If there's a silver lining in all this, the wrist feels pretty good," he said.

The toughest part of the entire rehab process was watching from afar as one Red Sox player after another was injured and sent to the disabled list, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Lowrie could focus only on his own health as he worked his way back at the organization's spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

"Watching in Florida it's been hard to see games on TV," he said. "The box score only tells part of the story. It just shows the resiliency of the guys in this clubhouse. We've had a lot of guys step up and perform in roles that they weren't expected to be in."

Lowrie also thought about the what-ifs.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't think about that. My concern was on my health and that was the overriding theme through all this," Lowrie said.

He began his minor league rehab stint at Class A Lowell and recently continued it at Triple-A Pawtucket.

"He's been swinging the bat really well, especially the last three or four games," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Reports are he looks like a major league hitter. He's been on everything and reports have been really good."

Because of his wrist and the bout with mono, the Red Sox have yet to see Lowrie play at 100 percent since he made his big-league debut in 2008. Lowrie said the idea of playing fully healthy is foreign for him, but he's looking forward to the opportunity.

"By no means is it a lost season," Lowrie said. "There were times when I was more concerned with health than baseball. I feel healthy now and I'm back to thinking about baseball."

Having Lowrie in the mix will allow Francona to give Scutaro a bit of a break. He's been playing through neck, chest and triceps discomfort for most of the season.

"That's the idea," Francona said. "That's what we're thinking. With Jed there's more flexibility. If you're running nine guys out there every day, you don't need the flexibility, but right now we kind of do."

Lowrie wants to put this entire experience behind him and focus on once again being a major leaguer.

"It's been a good learning experience," he said. "It's something I feel will make me better in the end."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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