Diehard Q&A: Jed Lowrie

Diehard spoke recently with Red Sox rookie infielder Jed Lowrie, who had a hit in each of his first eight games and has fit into the veteran-laden clubhouse as seamlessly as fellow rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. In this Q&A, Lowrie discusses the challenges of playing third base as well as his memorable debut against the Indians April 15, when he collected three RBI.

So far, has your time in the major leagues been everything you'd hoped it would be?

Jed Lowrie: I think I've been a little spoiled because two out of the first three series I've been a part of have been Yankees-Red Sox. But yeah. The atmosphere and environment in Cleveland was pretty exciting.

You played third base for Pawtucket in an afternoon game the day you were promoted to the Red Sox. Do you think that was an audition or a test to make sure you could be an option at third base, or was it just a coincidence?

Jed Lowrie: I just showed up to the locker room and I was slotted to play third base. Before the year they told me that they wanted me to play shortstop five or six days a week and third and second just in case—get my reps in. I didn't think anything was up until I got called into the office after the game.

As a natural middle infielder, what's the biggest challenge of playing third base?

Jed Lowrie: Just different footwork. Different angles, especially with the right-handed hitters up. You're kind of looking at their back and the balls come off the bat a little bit different. It's just a matter of getting repetitions and ironing out the footwork.

You got to sit on the bench for a few days before you made your major league debut against the Indians April 15. How much did it help to just absorb your surroundings?

Jed Lowrie: I think it helped a lot. We've been able to see how things happen. When you come up like this, you want to just fit in. You don't want to be a snag or a bump in the road. You want to fit in. To see how things work, I think that helped and it made it easier for me.

How nervous were you before your debut?

Jed Lowrie: I always get nervous before a game. It doesn't matter if I'm playing in Pawtucket or Portland or wherever. I feel if you don't feel those nerves, you're not trying hard enough or you don't care. But I didn't feel overly nervous once I got out there, I guess, once it sank in a little bit, that it's a major league park, a major league game. The first 30 seconds might have been a little breath-taking, but I've played in front of 40,000, 50,000 people before—and 120,000 in L.A. at the Coliseum [during the Sox' exhibition game against the Dodgers March 29]. So I've done it before. And it was just a matter of going out there in a major league game.

What did you do with the baseball you got commemorating your first hit?

Jed Lowrie: I actually gave it to my mom already. She's got the lineup card and the ball and she's going to take it back and frame the lineup card and probably get a case for the ball and I'll put it in my office.

You were the first Sox player to collect three RBI in his major league debut in more than 60 years. What was it like to make such an immediate contribution?

Jed Lowrie: I wasn't aware of that but it's pretty cool when you think about it. That's [laughs] older than my parents, or close to it. It's been a long time. But more than anything else, I was able to help us win that game. And that's what I'm here to do. I think with helping the team win, all the personal stuff will come right along with it.

Lastly, I saw you talking and eating after a recent game with Dave Magadan and Clay Buchholz. What's it been like for you, getting to know the guys on the team?

Jed Lowrie: I spent a lot of time, the whole spring training, with them. Just a matter of finding stuff out about people, just having conversations and seeing what makes people tick. We have a lot of veterans on this team. It's just a matter of respecting them and just learning what you can about them and [finding out] whatever they need. It's kind of part of the baseball culture as rookies, kind of helping everybody out. It's just a matter of realizing what I have to do to help the ship run smoothly.

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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