Jed Lowrie doesn’t want you to know what mysterious injury has kept him off the field.
Asked directly about what, exactly, is the problem with his left leg that limited him to 0-for-7 last season, his first with the Mets, and kept him in a big brace as the Mets restarted camp over the weekend, Lowrie said he didn’t want to say.
“At this point, we’re in a 60-game sprint right now, and I don’t want to create any distractions,” he said Sunday. “I just want to mitigate everything that I can, manage it the best I can and do whatever I can do to help this team win in this short amount of time. Because we have such a talented group in here that I don’t want to create any distractions.”
Would naming the injury be a distraction?
“Listen, this has kind of been a topic for a while,” said Lowrie, who the Mets said 17 months ago was dealing with left knee soreness that they didn’t expect to be a big deal. “Like I said, I want to do everything I can, everything that the team is going to ask me to do to make sure that we are focused as a team on our goal.”
Is it possible that this approach to discussing the injury will create more of a distraction?
“That’s something that I’ll leave up to the Twitter-verse,” Lowrie said. “All I can say is I am doing, as a professional, everything I can to get on the field.”
He was on the field Sunday afternoon, when he ran the bases, fielded ground balls, took batting practice and faced righthander Dellin Betances during live BP. That was his first time seeing game-speed pitching since March, he said.
Manager Luis Rojas said Lowrie is “full go” for camp. But during a baserunning drill — home to first, first to third, third to home, etc. — Lowrie seemed hobbled, moving at well less than full speed.
Lowrie struggled to say how close he was to full strength during that portion of the workout. “That is probably the activity I feel it most,” he said. “Percentage-wise, that’s a good question. I would say probably, hmm, honestly, I can’t even put a number on it. My hope is that as I continue to do these strengthening exercises, I can increase that workload.”
What began as a knee problem last year became hamstring, calf and hip issues, and late in the season, the Mets stopped saying what specifically was wrong. Lowrie had one walk in eight plate appearances in September and didn’t play the field. When he arrived at spring training, he wore a large brace that ran from nearly his ankle to the middle of his thigh. He calls that his “rehab brace.”
Over the weekend, he did on-field activity in a different brace, his “functional brace,” he said. Lowrie’s understanding is that he would be allowed to wear the functional brace during games. The larger rehab brace better mitigates the pain, so he is trying to make a transition to the game-legal one.
“I’ve got my rehab brace that helps alleviate a lot of pain, because it’s designed for that purpose,” Lowrie said. “There’s a functional brace as well. I’m doing everything I can to build some strength, build some comfort in that other brace and see how it goes.
“I’ve been able to participate in everything they asked me to do, just like I did in spring training.”
He expects the same to be true come Opening Day, less than three weeks away.
“I’m confident I’m going to be able to do whatever is asked of me,” he said. “All I can do is show up and be the professional that I am and do everything that I can to prepare myself.”