What’s the Best Role for Jed Lowrie on the Red Sox?

What's the Best Role for Jed Lowrie on the Red Sox? One of the most pleasant surprises to what's been a largely disappointing start to the 2011 season for the Red Sox has been the play of shortstop Jed Lowrie.

Of course, calling Lowrie simply a shortstop may be selling him short. While the majority of his stellar work (a .368 batting average entering play on Monday) has come at the shortstop position, Lowrie is capable of doing even more.

Manager Terry Francona named incumbent shortstop Marco Scutaro the Opening Day starter at the position, and indicated that it was his job to lose. Scutaro hasn't exactly lost the job, but he has started to see more and more of his at-bats go to Lowrie. That's what happens when you're hitting well over .400. You get to play.

Since Patriots' Day, Lowrie has cooled off considerably, something to be expected when his batting average got as high as .516. As Lowrie comes back to earth, making him the everyday starting shortstop becomes less and less of a sure thing.

There are plenty of fans that believe that Lowrie is the better option regardless. He's a former first-round pick that brings plenty of offensive potential to the table. He's also a switch-hitter. And, perhaps most importantly, he's finally healthy after battling a wrist injury and mono in the past couple of years.

But, Lowrie also gives the Red Sox something else that Scutaro doesn't necessarily give them — flexibility. Lowrie can play every infield position. If any member of the Red Sox infield falls victim to injury, Lowrie can step in and fill any hole that opens up. It's a nice luxury to have. Take Kevin Youkilis' nagging hip for instance. The worst-case scenario would mean that Lowrie would step in for him for a long period of time. If that's not the case, Lowrie is obviously there to give Youkilis a day off when he needs one.

Just as importantly, bringing Lowrie off the bench gives Francona more options late in the game. Having Lowrie in the starting lineup makes things a little more complicated when trying to juggle the lineup late in the game when maybe a pinch runner is desired.

Jed Lowrie is going to play. But where?

What is the best role for Jed Lowrie on the Red Sox? Share your thoughts below.

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