Lowell in holding pattern; Ellsbury getting close
Mike Lowell was literally all dressed up on Friday with no place to play. The right-handed hitter, fresh off a torrid rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket, went through all of his regular pre-game activities before the start of a three-game series against the Tigers at Fenway Park.
But with the non-waiver trade deadline coming at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday and Lowell still not much of a fit on Boston’s 25-man roster, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein spoke with Lowell and his representatives and agreed it made the most sense for all parties not to activate him for Friday’s game against Detroit.
“There’s possible movement,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “The deadline is tomorrow. It just seems to make sense to get through another day or two days and then do what we need to do.”
There’s still a chance that Lowell could be traded by the deadline, but two of the teams interested in him – the Tigers and Rangers – went out and got alternative corner bats in Jhonny Peralta and Jorge Cantu.
Lowell couldn’t have done much more to prove his worth to suitors on his rehab assignment, hitting .500 (11-for-22) with four homers and 10 RBIs over five games.
“It’s not a really big deal to me,” Lowell said of the imminent trade deadline. “I think I did everything I could have done in Pawtucket. If there’s something out there, whether it’s our team or another team, that they wanted to see more of, there’s not any more left. What do they want me to do? Hit four home runs? I think that’s a little unfair. So I leave it at that. There’s nothing left for me to do.”
* Ellsbury heads to Pawtucket
Jacoby Ellsbury has just one more step to take before he is activated by the Red Sox. It will start Saturday when the speedy center fielder moves his Minor League rehab assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Ellsbury, who has played just nine games this season because of multiple complications with his left ribs, will play for Pawtucket on Saturday and Sunday. After that, the Sox will make a determination of what the next step is.
Clearly, however, Ellsbury – who last played for the Sox on May 24 – is finally nearing a return to action.
“Hopefully I don’t need too many [Triple-A games] but it’s just nice to get out there and start playing in some games,” said Ellsbury, who worked out at Fenway Park on Friday. “I feel a lot better. I feel comfortable. I played nine innings yesterday. I felt alright today. I took batting practice. I’m ahead of the team’s schedule right now, so that’s good.”
Ellsbury played three games for the Red Sox in the Gulf Coast League, including nine innings on Thursday. He is confident that his return to action won’t be quickly derailed like his last comeback, which lasted just three games.
“Yeah, I don’t have the pain in my back – that’s the biggest thing,” Ellsbury said. “Last time I was playing with a broken rib in addition to what caused everything — I’ve talked about that before. When I go back out there, it’s going to safe for me to play. I won’t aggravate anything.”
Though Ellsbury expects there will be some lingering pain or discomfort at times, he no longer fears risking re-injury.
“From Day One, my whole thing was as long as I’m not going to hurt it worse [it's fine to play],” Ellsbury said. “If I can go out there and not make it worse, I’ll play with any discomfort I have so that was from Day One and that was when I came back [last time], I was under the impression that’s how it was going to be. As long as I know I’m not going to hurt it worse, I’m ready to go.”