Rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie finds himself in the middle of a pennant race with the defending World Series champion Red Sox after a quad injury to veteran shortstop Julio Lugo. Lowrie, a former Stanford standout who appeared in his first 17 big league games in April and May, was recalled July 12. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: You had an unusual start to your 2008 season, correct?
Lowrie: I went to Japan with the team, but I was on the inactive roster over there on Opening Day. When we got back to the U.S., I went to Triple-A.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were soon recalled for the first time. What emotions were you feeling when you did get the phone call in April to come back?
Lowrie: Mike Lowell got hurt, but a decision hadn't been made if he was going to go on the disabled list or not. They told me to drive to Fenway but I didn't know if I was going to be on the bench or sitting up in a box somewhere out of uniform. As I approached Fenway, and was about five minutes away, I got a call saying I was going to be activated.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You hit .323 in April. Did you feel more and more comfortable as time went by?
Lowrie: The more at-bats a player gets, the more comfortable a player gets. That is true for me. Being a rookie on this team, though, it's about getting the at-bats when you can. I also try and soak as much in while getting as much experience as I can.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What can you say about your first home run?
Lowrie: It was against Glen Perkins in Minnesota. I got the ball, and it was a pretty cool experience. I was fortunate to get the ball and to have that memory.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were assigned back to the Minors the very next day. Was that a strange feeling?
Lowrie: I pretty much knew. My callup had to do with other guys getting hurt. It was something I didn't want to happen but I knew it would happen eventually.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How important was it for you to go back to Pawtucket with the right attitude?
Lowrie: I think that was key. I didn't want to get there but have the feeling I should be here. For me, it is about continuing to get better as a player and continuing to work on what I need to work on.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Julio Lugo recently went down to an injury and here you are again. How did you get the news?
Lowrie: It was after a game in Norfolk (Va.). Our manager, Ron Johnson, told me the news.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You play here in Boston with good, veteran infielders. How much can you learn by watching them and/or asking them questions?
Lowrie: You can learn a lot. I watch how they play and how they approach things on a daily basis. That is what it's about up here. It's not about having success for one day. It's about having a steady approach. A guy like Alex Cora is someone I admire for his tireless work ethic. He is always prepared, and I can learn a lot from that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have always played this game on an every-day basis until now. Is that especially hard for you in that you are a switch-hitter and you are trying to keep two swings going?
Lowrie: Being a switch-hitter is challenging in itself. Now you find yourself not playing every day, and that adds to it. You can imagine how much work guys here put into their swing, and I have to put in double the work. It's been done before but it's hard. I take a lot of pride in it, and it has benefited me throughout my short career.
MLBPLAYERS.com: And finally, if you think you will take anything away from this season, what do you think it will be?
Lowrie: It is hard to pinpoint one thing, but I will say the overall experience of being here has shown me the amount of scrutiny that comes with the job. You have to be confident in your game, trust what you do and show everybody in the clubhouse and within the organization what you can do.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.