According to the Globe's Adam Kilgore, rehabbing shortstop Jed Lowrie's looming return to the bigs hit a potential hurdle Tuesday night.
In his first at-bat against Norfolk Tides righty Chris Tillman,
Lowrie was hit in the back of the knee with a pitch. He stayed in the
game for another at-bat, even singling and scoring a run. But Lowrie?s
knee reportedly stiffened up and he was later removed.
He was already scheduled to sit out Wednesday's game in Norfolk, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday that he hoped Lowrie would bounce back and play today. But Lowrie was not in the starting lineup for the PawSox Thursday against the Tides.
Lowrie's setback comes at a time when Red Sox fans seem to be gaining confidence in current shortstop replacement Nick Green. Despite nearly being impaled by a broken bat
Wednesday against the Nationals, Green has been nothing if not solid in
Lowrie's place, playing a steady short and hitting .291 with four
homers and 26 RBIs in 51 games entering Thursday.
Julio Lugo, who played in 147 games for Boston as recently as
2007, has seen his playing time decrease over the past two seasons. His
limited defensive range has been a factor in his playing just 30 games
so far this year. In fact, Lugo seems resigned to a role that sees him coming off the bench.
The real question facing Francona and GM Theo Epstein at the
moment is whether they think the Sox are a playoff team with Green (and
occasionally Lugo) in the lineup. The presumption, at least based on
the team's success to this point in 2009, is that they are.
However, should things with Green change over the next month or
should Lowrie's comeback be further delayed, the Sox could be looking
to deal as the MLB trade deadline approaches.