Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lowrie suffers setback, still hopeful of return

There's no truth to the rumor that Jed Lowrie conveniently suffered a setback in his recovery just so he'd be back at Fenway Park for the Red Sox team photo.

A day after he felt a pinch in his wrist on a checked swing at Triple-A Pawtucket, he at least was able to chuckle a little bit about it. His voice, though, sounded wearing with frustration.

"Right at the point I'm trying to stop my swing, I feel a pinch and can't really stop it," he said. "Within the next two minutes, the finger is dead and there's a lot of soreness, a lot of numbness.

It hasn't gone away, either.

"I can still feel it today," he said. "But I relate it to, after my first at-bat in New York, it felt like it did right now. When I took my second at-bat, it got exponentially worse. After my first at-bat when it first happened against Oakland here, that's the way it felt. It took a couple of days until it felt OK. The one in New York, after the second at-bat, took a week. It's been a guessing game."

The setback was all the more frustrating considering he'd hit three home runs in his previous two games with the PawSox.

"It just kind of justified that when I'm feeling good, I've still got it," he said. "I don't think that's a question. It's just a matter of figuring out how to get it healthy. At this point, your guess is as good as mine."

He had played all nine innings in those games -- 10 innings, in fact, in one of them -- and had felt like he was back in baseball shape and ready to go when the Red Sox called for him. The latest setback came completely out of the blue.

"My legs felt great," he said. "I was moving great. I felt find as far as baseball-wise goes. The checked swing felt like I went right back to square one."

You might wonder if he's ready to hang it up for the season and rest his wrist and target spring training next year as a return date. He might still have to do that, but he's not giving up yet.

"I'm still going to try," he said. "I don't feel ready to stop trying this year -- especially after doing what I did in Pawtucket for a couple of days. I know it's only a couple of days and I haven't played in a week and it's not a finished product, so to speak, but at least there's something there. Hopefully, I can build on it and take it from here. Like I said, I don't even really know at this point. ...

"Of course, it's more in jeopardy, but I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm going to continue to do what I need to do to get back and see where that leads me. I'm not ready to give up on it."

The only silver lining was that he seems to have identified what causes the problem. Everything about the way he plays baseball feels good except for when he has to check his swing when he's hitting lefthanded.

"I know what's causing it now," he said. "After New York, I wasn't real sure. The first time it happened, it was a righthanded swing where I rolled over a ball. In New York, it was a lefthanded checked swing. Now I know that it is a lefthanded check swing. Whether the righthanded thing was the swing or me diving back, that's a little up in the air. But I do know that the lefthanded checked swing is causing that. From talking to people coming off wrist surgeries, coming off wrist injuries, the checked swing is the final hurdle. ... I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but that being said, hopefully we're moving closer."

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