Scutaro, the incumbent shortstop who played through debilitating neck and shoulder injuries last season, started 10 of the season's first 12 games. But Lowrie, valued by manager Terry Francona for his ability to play multiple infield positions, has started eight of the last 11, including Wednesday's 5-4 loss at Baltimore, primarily because he was batting .400 through his first 17 games.
"I thought coming into the year, the right thing to do was play Scutaro," Francona said. "I kind of said we think Jed is a starting player, but not right now. But when you hit .450, it's my responsibility to put him in the lineup -- at least a lot of the time. I don't think Scut likes it very much, and I don't blame him because he's done everything we've ever asked."
Scutaro was a longtime utility player before emerging as a starting shortstop with the Blue Jays in 2009 and then signing a two-year, $15 million contract with the Red Sox before last season. Francona suggested Scutaro is still comfortable playing second base, but he prefers Lowrie at third base whenever Kevin Youkilis requires a rest.
"I would say early in the year because Jed moved around so much that he was the obvious guy to move around," Francona said. "As Jed plays short, that's something I've got to think about. The first week a guy sits a little bit, that's probably not the best time to (approach him). I've got to pick my spot."
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