Sure, it's early. But Jed Lowrie is increasingly looking like the real deal.
The kid had two more doubles on Sunday, scored once, and knocked in a run in yet another come-from-behind Red Sox victory. Solid and consistent play is quickly becoming routine for the 24-year-old infielder.
On Saturday night Lowrie knocked a single, a double, scored a run, and drove in an RBI on a sacrifice fly. And his three RBI against Cleveland on Tuesday were the most by a Sox player in his debut since Merrill Combs drove in four against the St. Louis Browns in 1947.
So far, in 12 at-bats over three games, the switch-hitter has five hits (three of them doubles), five RBI, three runs, and is batting a healthy .417. That's a pretty sweet stat line to begin a career.
The kid has already proven that he can hit big league pitching, and that he is also versatile enough to play third, short and second. That sort of ability increases his value to the team and could make him a sort of "super-sub" until the Sox can open a position for him.
The most obvious position in the near term would be shortstop, where the $9 million-a-year Julio Lugo currently resides. At that price, the Sox aren't likely to find any takers willing to assume all of Lugo's hefty salary, so they would likely have to eat some of it.
Some may find that sort of talk to be a bit premature. After all, the Sox did manage to win a World Series with Lugo hitting just .237, to go along with a paltry .294 OBP. And Lugo did manage to knock in 73 runs and steal 33 bases last year.
This year he's off to a better start, hitting a respectable .273. But his OBP is still just .304 and he has only two extra-base hits. Lowrie has already exceeded that. To top it off, Lugo has a whopping six errors in the season's first month, tying him for the major league lead. If the veteran shortstop keeps this up, calls for Lowrie to replace him will be heard loud and clear all over Red Sox Nation.
It sure would be nice to see Lowrie stick around for a while. The rest of the season would be nice. After all, who wants to see this kid back in Pawtucket? He's already earning his place and helping the team win.
At this point, Julio Lugo looks like the one with something to prove.
Copyright © 2008 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.