Friday, May 22, 2009

Lowrie progressing quickly

Jed Lowrie was back in short right field at Fenway Park early Friday afternoon, playing long-toss and even taking a ground ball or two. In contrast to a Peter Gammons report that had Lowrie sidelined until the All-Star Break at the earliest, Lowrie appears to be ahead of schedule.

Lowrie stayed behind on the last road trip the Red Sox took, meeting with Red Sox trainers at 7:30 a.m. every day to work on the strength and flexibility in his wrist. He began his throwing program using a lefthanded glove on his right hand to minimize impact on his left wrist; he's now using his regular righthanded glove when he plays catch.

Barring any setbacks, he'll accompany the team on its upcoming road trip to Minnesota, Toronto and Detroit -- and he might just be ready for a rehab stint before that road trip ends.

"It was a little lonely here," Lowrie said on Tuesday.

When the 25-year-old Lowrie originally underwent surgery on April 21, he said doctors had told him he'd be back playing between six or eight weeks after the procedure. That would set the range between May 26 -- next Tuesday -- and June 9.

"He's young and a very hard worker, and he's very diligent in what he's doing," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Young kids heal quicker than older guys. That's just the way it is. I wouldn't be surprised if he's right on time or a little early."

Taking ground balls was one big step. Taking batting practice will be another big step. A week ago, he was hitting balls off a tee with one hand and had just started to take dry swings with two hands, just to get the motion back.

Well, that's not true. He started taking dry swings with two hands well before last week -- unofficially, of course.

"When I'm not looking, I'm not sure what he's doing," Francona said. "One day, I went down to go to the bathroom in the fifth inning -- this was back a few weeks -- and he had the bat in his hands. He gave me that look, like, 'I got caught.' But all good players do that."

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