Lowrie: 'I'm not a utility player'

BOSTON -- The mystery surrounding Jed Lowrie’s role for the Boston Red Sox continues.

Injuries and other health issues have marred the infielder’s career, but he’s proven time and again that when he’s able to play, he can make significant contributions.

General manager Theo Epstein has said there will be a competition at shortstop once spring training begins, with Marco Scutaro and Lowrie battling it out along with prospect Jose Iglesias.

Manager Terry Francona said Thursday prior to the 72nd annual Boston Baseball Writers’ Dinner that Lowrie’s role, at least to start the season, will be an important one.

Since newly acquired Adrian Gonzalez will be behind schedule due to offseason shoulder surgery, Lowrie could find himself playing first base, third base or both to start the season.

“He has the ability to play all four infield positions, so rather than worry about an infield competition, because Scutaro is our shortstop ... this guy gives us something that I don’t know how many teams can say they have; a switch-hitter who can play first, second, third, or short and play a lot. That, at some point, will probably save us.”

Francona was also quick to point out that the Red Sox believe Lowrie has the ability to be an everyday player. But his immediate role could be as a utility player.

While Lowrie said he understands the situation, he’s preparing to be an everyday player.

“I’m not a utility player,” he said. “But the Boston Red Sox, it’s an organization where it’s hard enough to be a starting player. I feel like I can be a starter on this team. I feel like I can be a starter on most every team in the major leagues. I’m just going to prepare myself to be that player and take it from there.”