Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 2/9/12
Five years ago, Jed Lowrie was considered among the top prospects in the Red Sox organization. Lowrie did not rank far behind names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Justin Masterson. But since Lowrie got his chance with the Red Sox in 2008, he has been unable to remain healthy for a complete season. There was a wrist injury, a shoulder problem and mononucleosis. So in his four seasons in the Majors thus far, Lowrie, 27, has not managed to play in more than 88 games in any single season. "I've had some unfortunate injuries," said Lowrie. "It's stuff that's completely out of my control. Stuff that happens when you play the game hard and play the game the right way. Fortunately, I haven't had the wear and tear that comes along with baseball so far. I know I'm capable of playing every game every year. It's just a matter of having a little luck on my side and staying healthy." In four seasons, Lowrie is a career .252 hitter with a .324 OBP. Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow acquired Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox in exchange for closer Mark Melancon in December. "He's a smart baseball player, a good baseball player," Luhnow said. "When you first see him you think how can this guy be a shortstop for a Major League team? And then you watch him play and you realize that he's got everything it takes to be a guy up the middle. He can play offense, hit from both sides of the plate, play defense, run a little bit and help you win games." The Astros plan on Lowrie being the starting shortstop in the upcoming season and he plans on delivering. "I feel confident that I'm a good hitter and I can help this team by getting on base and getting big hits," Lowrie said. While Lowrie is expected to be the starting shortstop, during spring training it will be interesting to see if 20 year-old prospect Jonathan Villar affirms what the Astros believe: That he has the tools to become a special player at the big league level, specifically defensively. In addition, veteran Angel Sanchez is expected to get playing time at short. But Lowrie must be a stabilizing factor for an infield that may include a player who's never played third-base in the majors in Brett Wallace and a second baseman with a total of 237 plate appearances in Jose Altuve. In short, the Astros desperately need a healthy and steady Lowrie. "This is the first off-season I've had in probably three years that I've been able to get a lot of strong lifts in where I haven't had to protect a certain area of my body,' said Lowrie. "I feel in great shape."
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