Let's clear up a misconception right now: No matter what Peter Gammons says, Jed Lowrie expects to be playing before the All-Star break. His return, in fact, is probably a month away.
The original time frame, before Lowrie went to visit a wrist specialist in Arizona in mid-April, was for him to return after the All-Star break. Ever since his surgery, though, he and the team have been saying he's expected to start playing again "six to eight weeks" post-surgery -- and that would put his return somewhere around mid-June.
Here are the facts:
1. Lowrie underwent wrist surgery on April 21.
2. Lowrie was told, upon undergoing surgery, he'd be playing again in six to eight weeks. Six weeks puts his return on June 2. Eight weeks puts his return on June 16.
3. Any rehab assignment, barring setbacks, couldn't last longer than a week or 10 days. (This one isn't a fact, per se. But given that Lowrie participated in spring training and started the season, it's incredibly unlikely he'd need more than 30 at-bats against live pitching to be ready to go again.)
4. He's progressing quickly. He was taking ground balls several days ago; he'll start hitting off a tee Monday. (See below.)
5. Everything he and Terry Francona say, in fact, point to Lowrie being ahead of schedule rather than right on time.
Rampant trade speculation has the Red Sox poking around for a shortstop -- but that's all based on the theory that Lowrie is out until the All-Star break. MLB Trade Rumors is stating it as fact: "Jed Lowrie is expected back from wrist surgery after the All Star break." Even Nick Cafardo of the Globe threw it out there as an accepted fact: "He had wrist surgery and is out until after the All-Star break."
That, though, would put his return three months post-surgery. He originally was told he'd be out for eight weeks, tops, and that was before he made such encouraging progress with his strength and flexibility work.
But speculation -- even based on the facts -- still is just speculation. You can't really know anything unless you go straight to the source. Here's what Lowrie had to say today after the homestand-ending win over the Mets:
There are a lot of reports out there saying definitively, "Jed Lowrie is out until the All-Star Break." Is that generally accurate?
"When is the All-Star Break?"
"So two months?"
Does that seem long to you?
"Yeah, that seems long to me. But you've got to remember, too, that I'm going through this, so all I can tell you his how I feel today. Today, I feel good. Today, it felt good. The idea is that tomorrow I'm going to take swings off a tee. Hopefully, it feels good on that. As far as timelines are concerned, that's something the training staff and people who have dealt with this before are probably better to ask because I'm going through this for the first time."
So the way they talk to you is basically, 'Tomorrow, we'll do the tee, and Wednesday, we'll do this,' and they don't look much beyond that?
"Right. I think it's good that way because it makes me focus on what I need to do to get to that point. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to be out there playing, but right now, I just need to strengthen and get the range of motion back."
But that six to eight weeks, what was that a target date for?
"What I understood was that in six to eight weeks, I'd be playing. That's what the doctors tell me. That's the professional opinion of people who have done this before. All I can do is put in the work and put in the rehab to get better. That's the best answer I can give you. I don't have the answers -- I'm just going through it."