Blocked Prospects: Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie is in Boston’s starting lineup — for now. Lowrie started at shortstop last night, and went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI. In his debut Tuesday night, he went 1 for 4 with three RBIs. But don’t expect Lowrie to be around for long. He’s headed back to the minors as soon as Mike Lowell or Alex Cora returns form the DL.

Lowrie is a patient hitter with some power who can play multiple positions. Today, the Boston Globe reports that Lowrie spends time each day working with infield coachd Luis Alicea at second base, shortstop, and third base.

Boston’s long-term plans for Lowrie are unclear. He’s blocked at shortstop by Julio Lugo and at third by Lowell, who are both signed through 2010. And he’s blocked at second by Dustin Pedroia, who is signed through 2012. Tim mentioned recently that Lowrie could bring something nice in a trade, but I think he’d be more valuable as a Ryan Freel-type utility player — especially on a team with an aging third baseman, an aging left fielder and injury magnet J.D. Drew in right field.

For proof of just how valuable a good utility guy can be, look no further than Detroit’s Brandon Inge, who is among Tigers team leaders in most major hitting categories and has seen time at catcher, third base and center field. Lowrie could be that kind of guy, and he would would cost a fraction of what the Tigers are paying Inge (or the Reds are paying Freel, for that matter). The Red Sox just have to teach Lowrie to play the outfield.

If you’ll recall, Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton started last season as a super-utility player, while the Rays debated where he should play permanently. That experiment seemed a little insane at the time ("Oh, you can’t handle one position? Try five!"), but actually worked out in the end. Maybe Lowrie will follow a similar path?

Coley Ward writes for You an reach him here.

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