The switch-hitting Lowrie was a top prospect for Boston that projected as power hitter and shortstop who would solidify that position for a decade. It never happened.
In 2008, Lowrie broke onto the Boston scene with a flash, getting three RBI in his debut – a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians. Lowrie completed the season with a slash line of .258/.339/.400 and no errors in 49 games at short and only two errors in 45 games at third. All seemed bright for 2009.
Then, it started.
There are clinics that do not see this amount of injuries in a week. Wrist strain followed by surgery on the wrist. An eerie connection to Middlebrooks? There was more to follow with another wrist injury and another stay on the DL. In September, Lowrie returned and finished out a season in which he hit .147.
In 2010 it continued to fall apart. Mononucleosis took care of half the season, but Lowrie still managed a line of .287/.381/.526. The promise still tantalizingly was there.
In 2011 Lowrie once again had to sit after a nice start and ended up missing 45 games in the middle of the season. The Sox had seen enough and shipped him to Houston, who eventually sent him further west to Oakland, where he has blossomed.
Middlebrooks came up and teased us in 2012 with his power and a fine half season with a .288 average, 15 home runs and 54 RBI. Then came August 10th and his season was done with a broken hand when hit by a pitch.
Since then it has been a dismal disappointment.
2013 saw his average dip and Middlebrooks was shipped to Pawtucket in late June along with his .192 mark at the plate. Eventually Middlebrooks resurfaced and got some playoff time – a glimmer of hope for 2014?
In 2014, things just continued to slide. The injuries are there – calf, wrist, back, broken finger and a few I probably have missed, no doubt they have contributed to his slide for 2013 and 2014. But each step forward is followed by two steps backwards.
Like Lowrie, a hot start followed by a series of injuries and disappointments.
Now Middlebrooks is finishing up his latest rehab visit and will return (maybe) to the big club. Will this be a repeat of Lowrie? Will management’s frustration with Middlebrooks place him onto another roster?
You don’t give up on power potential, and my assumption is the Red Sox will give the remainder of the season as a verdict on his future. Is Houston calling?