The Astros are young, the organization is rebuilding and little is expected of an American League West-bound club that's combined for 213 losses the last two seasons. In short, Houston needs a leader. Jed Lowrie's open to the role. The sixth-year shortstop must stay healthy in 2013 to truly contribute to the Astros. Lowrie, 28, hasn't played in more than 97 games during a season since debuting for Boston in 2008. But his 16 home runs and 42 RBI in just 387 at-bats last year highlighted his potential, and Lowrie will enter spring training in Kissimmee, Fla., as one of Houston's most experienced and proven athletes. Astros manager Bo Porter said Wednesday that Lowrie was on track for an All-Star caliber 2012 before being sidelined by a right ankle injury. With Porter already pushing for Houston to be a more energetic, confident and driven team this year, Lowrie's willing to assume a leading role on a club whose only other proven everyday veteran is Carlos Pena. "I definitely look at it that way. … Hopefully we can provide a veteran leadership stance," said Lowrie, during an Astros CAREavan appearance at Ellington Field. "My personal style: I like to lead by example. I know that I have a strong work ethic and that's something that, more than anything else, guys can learn from that." Wednesday marked Lowrie's first day around Porter. The Houston shortstop was immediately impressed. During an interview in between dishing out lunch to military members and signing autographs, Porter strongly spoke about changing the Astros' culture and creating a new mindset this season. Few expect Houston to be competitive. Porter doesn't care; he fully believes in his players and the organization's top-to-bottom rebuild. The first-year manager only wants Astros in uniform who share his passion. "He seems like everything that I've heard," Lowrie said. "Tons of energy; has a clear direction; has high expectations which, ultimately, I think is the most important thing. "You can't settle. He's going to have to push a lot of guys to make sure that nobody kind of lulls back into habits."
Strong, healthy Jed Lowrie open to leading Astros
Houston Chronicle | Jan 24