Quality, if not yet quantity
Lowrie keeps up hot hitting early in season
His numbers are impressive, even after only 15 games. But no one is looking for context regarding the Red Sox’ Jed Lowrie. That can come later if he can stay healthy, as well as productive, throughout an entire season.
Considering the just-turned 27-year-old shortstop has had to deal with a series of injuries to his wrist and then a battle with mononucleosis last season, no one is ready to wager on those odds.
Lowrie’s latest burst came in yesterday’s 9-1 victory over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. All he did was go 4 for 5, hit a home run, and tie career highs with those hits and his four runs batted in. He’s on a seven-game hit streak, and is 15 for 24 for a .625 average during that stretch. He’s hitting a more reasonable .516 for the season.
“I hit .400 in college, .300 in the minor leagues,’’ said Lowrie with a laugh, when asked about the batting average. “It’s April 18. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. My goal is to just keep my head down and keep grinding.’’
Lowrie started his day with a single to right in the first inning, which drove in two runs. After David Ortiz walked in the fifth, Lowrie homered to left.
Manager Terry Francona penciled Lowrie into the lineup at short in place of Marco Scuturo less than week ago.
“Good for him, after what he went through with his illness and the other things,’’ said catcher and captain Jason Varitek.
Lowrie has been in the Sox organization since 2005, but he isn’t the shortstop of the future — that tag belongs to Jose Iglesias, who is biding his time in Pawtucket. And the season started with Scuturo as the shortstop of the present.
Now that has changed, and Lowrie said he intends to do everything he can to maintain that status. If nothing else, he is persistent.
“It’s the kind of person I am,’’ said Lowrie. “I am a very patient person. I know if I continue to work to get healthy and stronger, I will be all right. It’s a matter of working hard and getting stronger and trusting my approach.’’
Lowrie started last season on the disabled list because of mononucleosis, but he returned in July and ended up with a .287 average and nine home runs, career highs, in 55 games. He was voted the team’s Comeback Player of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Lowrie’s latest offensive burst plays to his strengths, he said.
“One of my best qualities has been recognizing pitches and getting quality at-bats,’’ he said. “It’s simply a matter of continuing to do what you are doing and going out there and letting things happen.’’
Lowrie was asked if, because of his health struggles, he worried about the clock working against him. At 27, he should be nearing his peak.
“I was never worried about the time part of it,’’ he said. “The approach I had was being patient, just keeping a level head and pushing forward.’’
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.