SEATTLE — Jed Lowrie hit two home runs Tuesday, helping the Red Sox to a 9-6 victory against the Mariners. His reward was a seat on the bench yesterday for the final game of the series.
Lowrie missed most of spring training and then nearly four months of the season recovering from mononucleosis. He is still getting his stamina back and manager Terry Francona looks for opportunities to give him extra rest.
With the Sox off today, Lowrie will get a two-day break before starting tomorrow night against Toronto at Fenway Park.
“It would be wrong not to be aware of it,’’ Francona said. “He’s been playing a lot lately and he’s done pretty well. That’s an easy one to go, ‘He swung the bat good, run him in there,’ and not be fair to him.’’
Lowrie has a .355 on-base percentage and an unexpected .492 slugging percentage in the 40 games he has played since coming back. Of his 31 hits, 16 have been for extra bases. He also has 16 RBIs.
“I’m not trying to do that,’’ said Lowrie. “I’m just letting my ability play. When you get yourself in good counts and you’re able to put good swings on pitches, I feel like I can drive balls.
“I’ve always had that ability to hit extra-base hits, doubles in particular. I’ve hit some home runs as of late. But my approach is doubles, doubles, and getting on base. If it goes out, it goes out.
“I’ve been saying this for a long time: I know what I’m capable of. It’s more about me getting and staying healthy.’’
Lowrie has had only 188 at-bats the last two seasons. A wrist injury in 2008 that lingered into 2009, then the mononucleosis, left him only an occasional contributor. The extended time off because of the mono helped strengthen his wrist but he still gets daily treatment.
“I still have to take care of myself,’’ Lowrie said. “But I feel good when I go out there and I don’t have to think about stuff like that. I’m not in the field thinking about my wrist or feeling sick. It’s a good feeling.’’
If healthy, he could compete for a starting role as the shortstop or be an option at third base in the future. More likely, the Sox see him as a productive utility player. He has played games at all four infield positions this season.
“I think all these games, for me, are to prove something,’’ he said. “I’m focused on tomorrow now, not looking forward to 2011. I’m going to prepare myself in the offseason for 2011.’’
When David Ortiz
swung and missed at a curveball from David Pauley
in the fourth inning last night, it was his 135th strikeout of the season, a career high. He fanned again in the seventh. Ortiz had 134 last season. But while 269 strikeouts over the last two seasons may seem like a lot, there are 14 players in the majors with more, including Adam Dunn
, Ryan Howard
, Jayson Werth
, and David Wright
. The leader, through Tuesday, was Arizona’s Mark Reynolds
with 418. “I don’t worry about it too much,’’ Ortiz said. “I think the strike zone has changed and they’re calling the outside pitch. But I’m not going to chase pitches I can’t handle.’’ The strikeouts have not drastically affected Ortiz’s production. He has an OPS of .894, in the top 10 in the American League. Ortiz was 1 for 4 with a double in a 5-1 victory and was pinch hit for in the ninth because of a stiff neck. “No big deal, just the pillows in the hotel,’’ he said. “I’m fine.’’
Waiting on Wake
Francona said the team has no plans to insert Tim Wakefield
into the rotation before the end of the season. Wakefield has pitched once in the last 11 days and has worked 21 2/3 innings since Aug. 1. When he does pitch again this season, he will become the second-oldest player to appear in a game for the Sox. Deacon McGuire
was 44 years, 280 days when he appeared in a game in 1908. Carl Yastrzemski
is currently in second place, having played his last game when he was 44 years, 41 days in 1983. Wakefield is 44 years, 45 days today.
The Class of 2010
The Sox will induct Tommy Harper
, Eddie Kasko
, Jimmy Piersall
, John Valentin
, and Don Zimmer
into their Hall of Fame tomorrow at Fenway Park during a luncheon. The group also will be recognized on the field before the game . . . J.D. Drew
was out of the lineup for the fourth straight day because of a sore right ankle. With the team off today, the hope is he will be able to start tomorrow night. “I’m making progress and took some BP today,’’ Drew said. “Getting a few days off was good for me. I needed it.’’ He has not been on the disabled list this season but has been out of the lineup 14 times because of various injuries . . . Ichiro Fujisaki
, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, received a framed jersey from the Mariners before the game and gave a short speech to the crowd at Safeco Field. Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka
greeted the ambassador afterward . . . Marco Scutaro
is one hit shy of matching his career high of 162 . . . Rookie Ryan Kalish
has 14 RBIs in 12 games this month . . . Scott Atchison
, who pitched the ninth, has allowed one run in his last 11 innings . . . The Sox finished the season 7-3 against Seattle . . . Single A Greenville had three players suspended for their roles in a brawl against Lakewood in the South Atlantic League playoffs on Tuesday. Michael Almanzar
and Jeremy Hazelbaker
will sit out tonight and Vladimir Frias
tomorrow. Lakewood also had three players suspended. The best-of-five series is tied 1-1 with the three remaining games in Lakewood.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.
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