There has been some chatter lately about how Jed Lowrie could take over the Red Sox shortstop job from Marco Scutaro. Theo Epstein said as much himself last week. Terry Francona gave a press conference today, however, and he says nope, not happenin’:
“Scutaro’s our shortstop. (Lowrie) gives us something not a lot of teams can say they have. A switch hitter than can play first, second, third or short and play a lot. He can play for a week, he can play it for a day, he can play it or two weeks. That at some point is going to probably save us. How many times have you seen where everybody stays healthy?”
I assume that Francona has Scutaro’s health most closely in mind with that last comment. He was hurt last year, he’s in his mid-30s, and he’s coming off a .275/.333/.388 season in which he played poor defense. Lowrie, on the other hand, had a great season at the plate in an admittedly small sample size.
Francona may very well envision Lowrie getting a ton of time out there in 2011. But he has absolutely zero reason, from a clubhouse management perspective, to say anything apart from “Scutaro is our shortstop.”
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.