Luis Rojas described Jed Lowrie as “full-go” for Sunday afternoon’s workout and simulated game. The Mets probably hope there is another level he can get to after Lowrie, sporting what he called his “functional” brace, gingerly ran the bases and seemed to be favoring his injured left side that still remains a mystery.
But at least the oft-injured veteran infielder was on the field, getting two at-bats against live pitching, trying to push past the issues that have kept him sidelined as a Met.
“It’s frustrating. Obviously, it hasn’t gone as expected,” the 36-year-old Lowrie said on a Sunday night Zoom video call from Citi Field on the third day of spring training 2.0. “But listen, I’m going to focus on whatever I can do and whatever they can ask me to do, because we have this 60-game sprint. … My hope is that as I continue to do these strengthening exercises, I can increase that workload. But we’ll kind of have to play that day by day, see how it reacts, see how the treatment is helping.”
Lowrie, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract prior to last season, danced around what the injury he’s dealing with is, saying he doesn’t want to be a distraction. When it was suggested that the mystery of what’s been bothering him dating back to spring training, 2019 could be a distraction in itself, he said: “Listen, that’s something that I’ll leave up to the Twitterverse. All I can say is I am doing, as a professional, I’m doing everything I can to get on the field.”
He declined to say at what percentage he was running at, though he did note that running “is probably the activity I feel it most.”
If Lowrie does have a role on the Mets, it would likely be as an occasional designated hitter or pinch-hitter, with Jeff McNeil expected to be the everyday third baseman and Robinson Cano as the regular second baseman. Both Rojas and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen have suggested using Lowrie at DH as a possibility, though he would be one of many options at that spot.
Lowrie received just eight at-bats in his first season with the Mets, all as a pinch-hitter, and when spring training was suspended on March 12 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, he hadn’t appeared in an exhibition game yet. While he had taken part in baseball activities, the belief was he would begin the season on the injured list because of his lack of mobility. It remains uncertain if that will be the case once this shortened season begins, though Lowrie did at least test the leg Sunday, albeit in a brace he believes he can play in.
“I chose to come here. I want to be part of this organization and be a part of something fun,” said Lowrie, who struck out and lined out to center field in his two at-bats against Dellin Betances. “That’s why I want to focus on the task at hand. We have this short window of games and hopefully I can contribute to something cool. That’s why I signed here.”