Two weeks ago, Terry Francona said that he was going to wait until spring training before he made decisions about his 2011 lineup. It seems, however, that he already has a few ideas brewing in his mind.
When asked about certain aspects of his infield during the Boston Baseball Writers Association of America dinner on Thursday, Francona didn't hesitate when the question of who will play shortstop was brought up, according to the Boston Globe.
"[Marco] Scutaro's our shortstop," the manager announced, quashing any inquiries surrounding Jed Lowrie's potential as the primary starter at short.
That doesn't mean Lowrie is not an integral component to the Red Sox' strategy next season. Francona has plenty in store for Lowrie as a utility player, and praised the switch hitter's versatility during the conference.
"[Lowrie] gives us something not a lot of teams can say they have," Francona said. "A switch hitter that can play first, second, third or short and play a lot. He can play for a week, he can play for a day, he can play for two weeks. At some point [he] is going to probably save us. How many times have you seen where everybody stays healthy?"
Lowrie definitely stepped up for the Red Sox last season after sitting out the first half of the year with mononucleosis. The 26-year-old hit .287 with a .381 OBP in 55 games for the Red Sox in 2010, driving in 24 RBIs with nine homers.
Scutaro was also a pleasant surprise for Boston last season, as he quickly adjusted into the leadoff spot when Jacoby Ellsbury went down with a rib injury in April. Playing in 150 games, Scutaro posted a .282 average when batting first in the lineup, with a .336 OBP.