BOSTON — Jed Lowrie felt tired almost constantly and sometimes slept 20 hours a day when he began this season on the 60-day disabled list and missed 94 games with mononucleosis.
"I just felt like a zombie," Lowrie said before the Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox here at Fenway Park yesterday. "Even when I was awake, walking around, I just felt like I was in a haze and there but not really there."
Lowrie certainly has experienced some major setbacks during his young career.
After playing well for Boston in 2008 (.258 average, 46 RBIs, just 2 errors in 81 games), he broke his left wrist, which caused him to have surgery and miss all but 32 games in 2009.
Then, this year it was the mono.
But the 26-year-old switch hitter said yesterday that he never worried that time was running out for him to prove himself as an everyday starter.
Nor did he ever doubt his ability to be an everyday starter.
A forgotten man the past year and a half, he is back and reminding everyone that he is not just a utility player.
Lowrie went 1 for 2 with two walks in the first game of the doubleheader, a 3-1 loss.
That hiked his average to .278 with four homers and 11 RBIs and with an on-base percentage of .387 .and a slugging percentage of .489.
"I'm doing everything I can right now to stay strong and stay on the field," Lowrie said.
'I want to play'
Lowrie has played every infield position in his brief major league career but feels most comfortable at shortstop and second base. He played second at Stanford and played the majority of his minor league career at shortstop.
Obviously, the Sox have an All-Star in Dustin Pedroia at second and shortstop Marco Scutaro is signed for another year.
"It doesn't matter to me," Lowrie said. "There's (30) major league teams. There's a lot of teams and so if I don't fit here, then I want to play somewhere where I do fit and that I get to play. I love the guys in this clubhouse, and I love playing with them, but I want to play."
Scutaro is no lock to start at shortstop next year. So Lowrie could earn a starting job there.
Maybe Lowrie could even be moved to third base if the Red Sox do not resign Adrian Beltre, who likely will receive a big contract after the All-Star season he has had.
If Lowrie, who the Red Sox drafted in the first round and 45th overall in 2005, keeps playing like he has since returning July 21, then the Red Sox need to find a starting position for him.
Lowrie gets on base and that is one thing General Manager Theo Epstein especially likes from his players.
Lowrie has reached base three times in six games so far this season and has reached base with a hit or walk in 24 of 30 games in which he has recorded at least one plate appearance.
He also has shown some pop with four homers and seven doubles.
"I played second at Stanford and that's a position I'm very comfortable with, but with a guy like (Pedroia) here, then there's not a lot of innings to be had at second," Lowrie said. "But I feel comfortable at short, too, and if they ask me to play third or first, then I feel like I can do that as well."
Since his return
Lowrie has had some impressive plate appearances since his return. He smashed a walkoff homer Aug. 21 to beat the Blue Jays and set up walkoff wins on July 31 and Aug. 1 with important final-inning hits.
He led off the ninth inning of Game 1 yesterday with a single but the Red Sox failed to rally beyond that.
"I'm having good at-bats," he said. "I just haven't been getting (many) hits lately. I put some good swings on the ball in Baltimore and you can't really control it after you hit it. I'm driving the ball."
One sign Lowrie's wrist might not be 100 percent yet is that he has struggled from the left side of the plate — and his performance from the left side suffered the most after he broke the wrist, he said.
Lowrie entered yesterday batting .364 right-handed but just .218 left-handed.
"I feel fine right now," he said. "It's just always a work in progress. I still have to do therapy for it. I still ice it every day. I still have to do exercises for it. My therapist in the offseason said that his prediction would be that next year it would feel like brand new."
Despised favorite athletes
Jed Lowrie might want to change his favorite athletes. When he was at Stanford, he listed his favorite athletes as Yankee star Alex Rodriguez and Bret Boone, the brother of Red Sox-killer Aaron Boone.