The Red Sox don't open camp for another month, but there's already a position battle brewing, at least in the mind of general manager Theo Epstein.
At a fan event Friday night, Epstein said he considers the door open for Jed Lowrie to earn significant playing time at shortstop if his spring performance convinces manager Terry Francona to play Lowrie (pictured, center) over incumbent starter Marco Scutaro. Lowrie started most games at short late last season as Scutaro dealt with a bum shoulder and covered for Dustin Pedroia's absence at second, and the 26-year-old batted .293 from August 1 on. Scutaro, 35, is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract.
“We have two really talented shortstops on the roster at different phases of their career, and they’ll both end up helping this club win,” Epstein said, according to the Boston Herald. “How it shakes out in terms of playing time will be up to [Francona] — and, ultimately, the players will determine their own roles. If we’re a better team with one guy playing two-thirds of the time and the other guy playing one-third of the time and moving around, that’s what we’ll be. If it looks like we’ll be a better team with a more traditional arrangement or a time share, that’s what we’ll do. Players, ultimately, make those decisions for you.”
Epstein said, however, that Scutaro is the starter entering camp.
“Scutaro signed here to be the shortstop,” Epstein said. “He should be healthy when he comes to camp, and he’s going to play a lot of shortstop. But we’re not good enough that we can’t use every available resource that we have. Jed Lowrie is someone who can play a good shortstop, can play a number of positions, and can help this team win. He’s going to see some time at shortstop. But Marco was our shortstop last year, and, until something changes, that’s how it’s going to be.
“I’m just making the point that we believe in both guys and think that they can both help us win."
-- David Andriesen