Jed Lowrie’s second opinion won’t change your opinion on whether you think you’ll see him step into the batter’s box anytime soon.
The injury-plagued Mets infielder was diagnosed with PCL laxity in his left knee, according to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who described the injury as looseness in the joint, causing destabilization. Lowrie’s return date remains uncertain.
“The report we got back was not really all that inconsistent with what we’ve already learned,” Van Wagenen said before the Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox. “The PCL laxity is something we’ve known has been part of the root of his problem for several months. … The laxity in that PCL is causing him the pain.”
Van Wagenen wouldn’t rule out the possibility of surgery for the player who has taken just seven hitless at-bats since signing a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets before last year.
“[It’s] too early to tell,” the general manager said. “The two doctors are gonna put their heads together, along with the player, and determine the best course of action as we go forward.”
Before returning to the injured list on July 20, Lowrie had been playing with a bulky leg brace, which restricts his movement.
“When he wears that larger brace that pain is mitigated, and when he plays in a smaller brace that pain increases,” Van Wagenen said. “He’s been able to feel, close to, if not 100 percent, while wearing the larger brace. The challenge is getting that same strength and stabilization when he’s transitioned to the other braces.”
Even if Lowrie is able to avoid surgery, the 36-year-old has less than two months to return before the end of the shortened regular season. In that increasingly unlikely scenario, in which rest and rehabilitation successfully bring Lowrie back to sufficient health, the infielder would need to shed the rust of going two years without playing any role other than pinch hitter.
“The challenge will be can we get him to a point where he can run the bases and play defense at the speed and the efficiency-level that needs to happen to be a major league player,” Van Wagenen said. “Those are the two challenges, but if we get to that point, I don’t think it’ll take long for him to get ready because of the offensive capability.”
Lowrie’s at-bats during spring training 2.0 provide Van Wagenen with hope that the Wilpons’ money won’t have been entirely wasted.
“What we saw in summer camp, even with the layoff, was that he was major league ready offensively from both the left side of the plate and the right side of the plate,” Van Wagenen said. “He had as professional, and as many quality at-bats as any player had in camp. We were very pleased to see that.
“We think the player can help us and we saw it in summer camp that offensively he can be a value to the team, so the goal would be to get him back and contribute, but the conversations that coming from the doctors over the next couple of days will determine what the timeline is based on the course of action.”