Lowrie focused on entering offseason healthy

September 27th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Entering the final days of the 2019 season, , despite being active for most of September, has yet to play an inning in the field. He isn’t sure if that will change this weekend against the Braves. In his eyes, he doesn’t “think it really would prove anything one way or the other.”

A more important goal, Lowrie said Friday in an extended conversation about his health, is entering the offseason with his body intact. The left knee, left hamstring and right calf injuries that conspired to keep him out for most of this season all still bother him to some extent.

“It’s lingering, let’s just put it that way,” Lowrie said.

With the Mets out of playoff contention, team officials simply want to usher Lowrie into the offseason feeling healthy. Even so, Lowrie’s lost campaign leaves them in a bit of a lurch when it comes to their infield planning for 2020. On paper, Lowrie would seem to profile as the Mets’ everyday third baseman, given the .272/.356/.448 slash line he produced in 310 games for the A’s from 2017-18. In reality, the Mets don’t know how much they can count on him in the final season of his two-year, $20 million contract.

“When you miss a whole year, it’s kind of an unknown of what you’re going to get the next year,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s just the facts of it.”

Even Lowrie admitted “it would be silly of me to speculate” on how much he will be able to play next season.

“I certainly know I have the skill set to play every day,” Lowrie said. “It’s just a matter of getting my body right. If I can continue to get the things that I need, I think I can.”

Initially penciled into the 2019 lineup as a player capable of manning second base, third base and shortstop, Lowrie suffered a left knee capsule sprain early in Spring Training and required three months to rehab from it. As he neared a return, Lowrie suffered a left hamstring strain, then a right calf strain. Only in late August did Lowrie graduate to a Minor League rehab assignment, completing it without ever playing a full game in the field. Since rejoining the Mets, Lowrie has made seven plate appearances as a pinch-hitter entering Friday, going 0-for-6 with a walk.

He said the injuries placed “a lot of stress” on his body, though he added that “generally speaking, I feel great.” Lowrie will rest briefly after the season ends, then restart his regular rehab work with his personal trainer in the Houston area. His goal is to be a full contributor by the start of Spring Training.

In what role, neither he nor the Mets can say. While the Mets do not employ an obvious starting third baseman heading into the offseason, they are unlikely to allocate any significant portion of their limited budget to that area. Lowrie, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis are all options at third base.

Whether the lion’s share of that playing time goes to Lowrie depends entirely on his health.

“I don’t feel like I need to necessarily prove anything, but I’m an internally motivated person,” Lowrie said. “It’s more about me just continuing to be the person that I am, and going about it and finding a way to get better every single day. Of course, you want to play well everywhere you go. But I’m very motivated by my internal drive.”

Friends reunited

Former roommates Mookie Wilson and Hubie Brooks, who earned their Major League callups on the same day in 1980, reunited Friday after an absence of nearly 20 years.

Wilson, who lives locally, decided to come to Citi Field upon learning that Brooks and Lenny Harris would be there as part of the Mets’ alumni program, which has brought two former players back to Queens each homestand. When Wilson and Brooks saw each other in the Mets’ front-office suite Friday, they embraced in a hug.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” Brooks said. “This is beautiful. Words really can’t explain it.”

The two played together from 1980-84, before the Mets traded Brooks as part of a package for Expos catcher Gary Carter.