PHOENIX -- No one knows better than Jed Lowrie that the shortstop of the A's future is Addison Russell.
For that reason, current A's shortstop Lowrie can't say how long his stay in Oakland will be. He loves his teammates, he has a history in the Bay Area after playing at Stanford, and he likes winning, so he's in no hurry to leave.
What to do about Russell? He's only played three games above Single-A, so the A's aren't going to rush him to the major leagues this year. Such is Russell's talent, however, that the 20-year-old could be forcing the issue 12 months from now.
"It's impossible to look at Addison and not see an awesome shortstop in the making," Lowrie said. "He has a chance to play at this level for a very long time."
If that's the case, the A's would seem to have two paths for Lowrie. They could move him to second base, which was the position the A's thought he'd play when they picked him up from Houston just before spring training a year ago. Or they could either trade him or let him go as a free agent when he becomes eligible after the season.
"The organization is really excited about Addison, and they should be," he said. "At some point we'll have to have some conversations about how I fit into their plans. This early, it's too hard to say.
"I love the guys in the clubhouse. The coaching staff, led by Bob (Melvin) is awesome. It's great here. I like playing here. The Coliseum has its set of challenges, but you make up for it with the guys and the coaching staff."
Lowrie, 29, wants to be a shortstop looking ahead. If there were teams that wanted him to play shortstop and Oakland wanted to move him to second base, that balancing act would be a major factor in his decision-making process. But he does have lots of loyalty to the A's, for whom he had a breakout season in 2013 with a .290 average, 45 doubles, 15 homers and a career-best 154 games played.
He'd been an often-injured prospect in Boston, with a few fluke injuries keeping him out of the lineup for extended periods. He went to the Astros and had a great half season in 2012, then a collision at second base ended his season. Playing a full season for the first time in 2013 was validation.
"Before last year, people saw my injuries, but they didn't dig down to learn how the injuries happened," he said. "People assumed I was injury-prone. I'm not. I just play hard. The injuries were all 'what-are-you-going-to-do?' things. To play last season injury free and to play for a team that won its division, those were great things for me."
As for the future?
"I'm not going to be doing any back flips," Lowrie said, grinning. It was a reference to the standing back flip Russell did in the A's talent show earlier this month. "Just looking at him doing that, you can tell what kind of athlete he is."
Friday night's starter against the Giants, Sonny Gray, is widely expected to get the call. Gray didn't get much help from his defense in a 3-0 loss, with three infield errors committed behind him. He dodged the first two but wound up allowing an unearned run in the fourth inning.
Gray said his curveball and changeup combined with his fastball produced his best collection of pitches of the spring. The other two runs of the game came in the eighth off A's closer Jim Johnson.