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Lowrie fully embracing underdog role for A's roster spot originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Jed Lowrie is in a different situation than he’s used to, or so we thought.
Lowrie, who signed a minor league contract with the A's on Feb. 10, is taking on an underdog role as he fights for a roster spot, and possibly the starting second base job, against the talents of Tony Kemp, Chad Pinder and Vimael Machin. But it turns out, he’s used to working his way to the top.
“For about 36 years,” Lowrie said Thursday. “I’ve always been that underdog.”
Lowrie, 36, is back with the A’s for a third time, and on this occasion, it’ll be a tough competition for him, but he appears ready.
“Listen, I was the last guy recruited to my college class, I didn’t get invited to the national things, I’ve had to work for everything,” Lowrie said. “I’ve been able to achieve a lot and I was able to work myself into a supplemental first-round pick. But listen, nobody looked at me physically and said, ‘This guy’s going to be a 14-year major leaguer.’ I’ve had to work my way to where I am my whole life.”
He’s also working his way back from terrible knee injuries after signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the New York Mets in 2019. He played in just nine games with the Mets and hasn’t played in a major league game since Sept. 29, 2019.
“I’m at a really good place with the knee,” Lowrie said.
Lowrie played in five seasons with the A’s, earning All-Star honors in 2018 when he hit .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 159 hits. He also was part of a few impressive postseason teams.
Whether he becomes the starter or platoons at second base, he’s not too worried about that.
“I think all options are on the table,” Lowrie said. “I think a lot just depends on my health and how I perform. And so that’s all you can really ask for.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said Lowrie, and Matt Chapman -- who is coming off of season-ending hip surgery in 2020 -- will be designated hitters at the beginning of Cactus League play before implementing them in more defensive roles.
"I've been impressed with what I've seen, and probably surprised based on missing two years,” Melvin said. “But really we won't know till we get into games how much that affects him … But I know he feels a lot better since he's had the surgery."
But Lowrie continues to put his hat in the ring. And it all stems from one thing.
“I think I keep going because I love the game,” Lowrie said. “It presents a challenge that doesn’t exist outside of the game very frequently. It’s a very dynamic atmosphere that doesn’t really exist and so it’s an opportunity to do something that you’re not going to be able to do your whole life, so you might as well do it ‘til the wheels fall off."