All Lowrie had to do was recover from left wrist surgery and go through a sometimes tedious rehab, in which his GPS and his patience both got a bit of a workout.
But Saturday made it worthwhile for Lowrie, who will share shortstop duties with Nick Green for the foreseeable future.
Did Lowrie ever lose his patience?
"Maybe on the drive from Scranton to Manchester -- I don't know, somewhere in there, between the 1,300 miles I drove in a week," said Lowrie. "But when I was going through it, I looked at it as, it was the means [to an end]. It was the way that I had to get where I wanted to be. Looking back on it, it was probably a little unconventional, but it was what I had to do."
Getting hit on the knee by a pitch at Triple-A on June 23 prolonged Lowrie's rehab, and some weather issues forced him to alter plans at times.
Though the surgery wasn't performed until April, the ailing wrist was something Lowrie dealt with as far back as May 2008.
"I'm looking forward to just getting into the routine of the year," said Lowrie. "I haven't really had that this year, even through my rehab stint. I've played for four different teams, if you count Fort Myers. I'm just looking to get into the routine of things and getting comfortable, and just going out there and playing and [letting] my abilities show how I'm doing."
Realizing how conscientious Lowrie was during his rehab, Francona was glad to be able to get him right back into the lineup.
"It will be nice to see him get his legs under him," Francona said. "He hasn't played for a while now where he's felt good. He's been trying to play and nurse his wrist. This will be fun to [see him]. Again, when he's healthy, he's a pretty good player."
Lowrie will start at third base on Sunday, with third baseman Mike Lowell getting a day off.
Green still figures to play prominently into the mix. In fact, when either Dustin Pedroia or Lowell needs a day off, Lowrie will be the one to fill in, and Green will stay at short.
"We try to get the most out of everybody," said Francona. "Saying that, we still want to get the most out of Greenie. Greenie has done a really good job here. I think the combination of guys -- being able to move some guys around at times -- is going to really help us."
Lowrie hit a solo shot to left in his third at-bat of the day on Saturday, in the seventh inning against Toronto reliever Jesse Carlson.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less