The New York Mets signed Jed Lowrie to a two-year, $20 million contract after he had a career year with the A’s in 2018 and made his first All-Star team at the age of 34.
But Lowrie’s time in the Big Apple was marked by disappointment. Beset by leg injuries that dragged on for two seasons and limited him to just eight pinch-hit plate appearances, Lowrie and the Mets had a fallout as he eventually didn’t travel with the team and rehabbed at his Houston-area home.
Shortly after his Mets contract was up, Lowrie underwent October knee surgery that wasn’t considered major. The A’s took a flyer and signed him to a minor league deal on Feb. 10, opening the door for a third stint in the green and gold.
With a big smile, A’s manager Bob Melvin informed the media Saturday morning that Lowrie had made the major league roster for Opening Day. A couple hours later, Lowrie smacked a couple of Cactus League doubles in a vintage performance.
“It’s easy to make assumptions coming off the last couple years of my career,” Lowrie said via video conference. “I knew that if I had the opportunity to get healthy and get back out there and feel good, that I still had some gas left in the tank.”
But the A’s aren’t worried about Lowrie’s bat so much as his ability to handle regular duties at second base. He has played at second base in eight of his 12 Cactus League games so far. Lowrie has played back-to-back days on four separate occasions, mixing and matching as a designated hitter as well, but played back-to-back days in the field on March 22 and 23.
“That’s something we’ll take day by day,” Lowrie said of his workload. “We’ll monitor how [it goes] when we get into real games, real action. But right now, my body feels great. I’m recovering well and that’s all you can really ask for at this point.”
When Lowrie first rejoined the A’s in February, he told reporters he was eager to prove himself again after a lifetime of being an underdog. He also hinted that the decision to delay surgery until October 2020 wasn’t his choice, as the Mets reportedly had him undergo a series of platelet-rich plasma injections to treat his injury.
"Sometimes when you're under contract, your medical decisions are not under your control," Lowrie said in February.
Now he’s with an organization he surely trusts.
Lowrie played with the A’s from 2013 to '14 before spending a season with the Houston Astros, then returning for another three years in Oakland from 2016 to '18.
A’s general manager David Forst joined the radio broadcast during Saturday’s game and said the team has always been confident in Lowrie’s ability.
“The thing about Jed, is he’s always been so consistent in his career when healthy,” Forst said. “We always felt like if we had confidence if he was that guy, that you were going to see what you’ve seen here the last four weeks. He can hit and he can impact the lineup. That’s really what we’re getting right now.”
The beginning of Year 13 is just a few days away for Lowrie. The 36-year-old said he can’t wait to get back on the field for Opening Day.
“I’ve said this from the beginning, this place feels like home,” Lowrie said. “I’m excited to get back to the Coliseum. I’m excited they’re going to let some fans in to see the game. I think it’ll be a fun and emotional day for me.”