BOSTON--Red Sox infielder Marco Scutaro, who has been on the disabled list since May 8 with a strained left oblique muscle, has joined Pawtucket on rehab assignment for three games in Durham, N.C. Manager Terry Francona said he will play a game at short, a game at second and DH one game (the PawSox play Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoon in Durham), and if all goes well Scutaro will rejoin the club prior to the Yankees series, which begins Tuesday night in New York.
Scutaro was batting .235 in 22 games (18 starts) at the time he was hurt, and had lost the starting shortstop job to Jed Lowrie. With plans to have him play second for Pawtucket, clearly the Sox intend to keep things status quo.
Lowrie, who got off to a great start, batting .400 as last as April 28, has cooled since then. In the 20 games since Scutaro went on the DL, Lowrie is batting .260/.329/.356/.686 with no home runs. But since becoming an everyday player, he has gone hitless in back-to-back games just once. That happened last week in Cleveland, Francona gave him a day off, and since then he has hit safely in his last five games, batting .333 (6 for 18). That includes the RBI single he had in Friday night's 8-6 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Lowrie is hitting nearly 200 percentage points higher against left-handers (25 for 58, .431) than right-handers (26 for 110, .236), but Francona said he has always been a better hitter from the right side.
"Offensively he's not a worry,'' Francona said. "(But) I don't think he's going to hit .400.''
The manager said he also has few concerns about Lowrie's durability, despite his injury issues in the past.
"I think he's dying to show he can do this,'' Francona said.