Results tagged ‘ Mike Lowell ’

Lowell in limbo, but not worried

Erstwhile Red Sox starting third baseman Mike Lowell reported to camp on Tuesday with, well, the Red Sox.

Adrian Beltre is obviously the team’s starting third baseman, leaving Lowell in a strange spot. But Lowell is as practical as any player in the Majors, and has no bitterness about his situation. As pictured below by photographer Brita Meng Outzen, Lowell is taking his situation in stride.
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Is it a “dicey” situation, asked intrepid radio reporter Jonny Miller of WBZ Radio? “

“Dicey as your articles want to be, I guess. It’s strange in the sense that I thought I was going to Texas, yeah that was a little different. I think I’ve been in some rumors before and I think when you’re going on a plane going to Texas it’s a little closer than most times. I realize I really can’t control that so I really haven’t sweated it that much. I was really concentrating on the health aspect. I’m looking at this spring basically like I’ve done the last 14 years. I hang my hat on [the fact] that I’m healthier at this point in the spring than I was last year and I felt I did a pretty good job when I was in there. I felt last year was the struggle. I think trying to overcome a lot when I basically hadn’t even jogged one time by the time I reported last year. Yeah, it’s definitely weird when you might be going somewhere else and all of that doesn’t pan out, but I guess that’s the way it goes.”

His approach overall: “I’m getting ready for a season. I think I’m pretty intelligent in the sense that there’s no real playing time for me here barring a major injury and I’m not really in the business of hoping somebody gets hurt just so I can get at-bats. For me I’m feeling like I’m more prepared and ready for a full season more than I was last year so why shouldn’t I play more than I did last year whether it’s here or somewhere else. I really can’t control that. I have to separate two things, I think there’s the baseball aspect of it and I think there’s the real-life aspect of it. I’m very comfortable in where I am in my real life. I feel like I’m in a tremendously privileged situation. Nobody needs to feel sorry for me in life. Is my baseball situation not ideal? Yeah, it’s not ideal. I don’t want to diminish the baseball fact, but you never know what can happen. When I left the Marlins I was disappointed and it turned out to be a really good transition for me. We’ll see. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Expect to be traded? “To some degree, absolutely. If I was on the trading block before I can’t imagine that all of a sudden I’m not now. I think my health is obviously something I need to show not only the Red Sox but every other team. If that opens the door to something else, I’ll go wherever I go or stay wherever I stay.”

The intrepid Miller asks Lowell to give a retrospective on his time in Boston: “I’m not dead Jonny. I have a lot of good memories but that doesn’t mean it’s over.”
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Meeting with Theo at camp?  “It was very status quo. We basically could have gone without the meeting and I think I pretty much knew where I stood and knew the way I feel.”

Bench role? “I’ve never been approached to say that’s in their plans. Like I said, if I’m definitely healthier at this point than I was last year I don’t see why I should have less at-bats.”

Open to playing first? “I don’t think it hurts to show the fact I can play another position. I don’t think that ever hurts. Whether that means I’m more versatile here in Boston or somewhere else … I can’t say Hey, I want to stay, Hey I want to play, or Hey, I want to go. None of those three things are really a factor so I leave it to those people who make those decisions and you guys will question if it’s a good decision or not.”

Disappointed team doesn’t want him back as starting 3B? “I don’t think it matters what I feel about that. I know they’re trying to go in a direction where they think the team is better. The player always take a back seat to those decisions. I don’t really feel like I win out in any way saying, what a great decision that was, or this was a poor decision. I’m highly motivated to show that I can play. Where that takes me, I don’t know. I really don’t. we’ll see. There’s some type of curiosity that I have – I’m anxious to see what happens.”

Regret not going to the Phillies for a four year deal after ’08? “No, no. I might have signed with Philadelphia and gone on a spelunking trip and gotten hurt and that’s against our contracts, so they might have voided the last three years. You never know. They have great caves in Philly so, no, I don’t. I enjoyed Boston. At that point, I was delighted to sign back. We had a competitive team and came within a game of going to the World Series the next year. How could you say that was a bad decision?” — BTW, that was classic Lowell about the spelunking. This guy just gets it.

State of the hip? “Yeah, there’s some discomfort when I run. I don’t feel any pain when I take those first few steps. I think defensively I would feel very comfortable moving around. I felt like I lost a little explosion on the first step, especially going to my left. That’s kind of where I push off with my right hip. But again, I think last offseason, I didn’t have any time to get strength. I think I basically played the whole year in a weakened state, because of the surgery obviously, I think I’ve gone to a point beyond that where that’s not an issue for me right now. is it like I was in ’07? No, there’s still some discomfort running. I’m not Jacoby. I don’t think the running aspect has really been a major issue to any baseball evaluator.”
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When will he be game ready? “Our first game is March 3, which is about a week away – I think if I had to play in that game, I could do it easily. But I think we’ll probably take it slow. So that’s why I say I might be four or five days behind. There was a struggle to swing the bat, when the doc said, hey, just start feeling it. I could feel the tightness and still the swelling in my thumb, and I don’t feel that now. So I think now it’s just increasing the strength a little bit to be able to handle the impact of a ball hitting it. I’ve only done tee work so It’ll be a progression of the toss, and then it’ll be batting practice outside, and once you can do batting practice outside, I don’t view the game as a major step. I actually almost want to get jammed to test it out, but I don’t know how you practice that.”

How disppointed was he when the Texas deal didn’t go down? “I looked at the Texas thing, honestly when I was on the plane flying to Texas as a pretty good challenge. I thought that team did a lot of good things last year. they were in it basically until the end. It was more, the way at least I viewed it, is I would probably DH a lot and play first a lot and if Michael Young needed a DH, I would probably play third for just a hand full of games so I didn’t have a problem with that. I didn’t see that as a bad situation. I thought that was a place where I could fit in the lineup there and I thought I could put up some numbers on a team I thought was going to be competitive so I wasn’t ashamed of going over there. I wasn’t disappointed that might be a possibility of where I landed. It didn’t go through, I was like, alright, it didn’t go through. I want to stress that I wasn’t stressed. I
really wasn’t. I think I get the grand scheme of things for me, like what I value and what I don’t. not that I don’t value baseball but I’m pretty confident I’m going to be in the big leagues this year somewhere and I still view that as a privilege to me. Like I said, no one needs to feel sorry for me for the situation of my life right now.”

Does Lowell expect to be with the Red Sox on Opening Day? “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Has he thought about other teams that might need him?  “Absolutely. I think that’s only human nature. Am I going to share that with you? Probably not.” 

Field Day

So the first official workout isn’t until Wednesday, I will grant you that. But today sure felt like an official workout. The only players who didn’t participate? J.D. Drew, who showed up in the late morning, Mike Lowell who unpacked his belongings in the early afternoon, and Marco Scutaro, who will make his first appearance in camp for physicals on Tuesday.

There was clearly a surge in energy with the arrival of David Ortiz. Big Papi showed up with a smile, eager to turn the page from a tough 2010.
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Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre, two key newcomers, were also full of enthusiasm in their first day at the office with their new team. The biggest challenge for poor Cameron was finding the workout fields. He first drove to City of Palms Park, only to find that it was completely empty. Cameron also forgot his batting gloves, but he had an old friend in Bill Hall to borrow some from.
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It didn’t take Beltre long to put on a show during infield drills, as he smoothly picked just about everything that came his way.

Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis was among the first to arrive in camp, and he was clearly having himself a good time today. Check out the leap action here, as showcased by photographer Brita Meng Outzen.
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Lowell will hold his press conference on Tuesday. It is obviously an awkward position for Mike, but if anyone is professional enough to handle the situation of being in complete limbo, it is Lowell.

And Daisuke Matsuzaka resumed throwing, playing catch between 60 and 90 feet, further proof that his back injury isn’t really much of an injury. He should be off a mound by early next week.

Lowell talks about thumb

For the first time since a trade to the Rangers fell through because of his right thumb issues, Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell spoke about the situation.

This, in an interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, who co-wrote the critically acclaimed Deep Drive with Lowell.

Lowell said he did not downplay the injury to the team’s medical staff at the end of the season.

“I was in constant and open communication about my thumb situation from the moment it happened to every week after,” Lowell said, indicating that the injury started when he fouled off a ball against Cleveland’s Jeremy Sowers in the final series of the regular season.

“I’ve had very open and honest communication with the training and medical staff,” Lowell added in his interview with Bradford. “The day this thing happened it was X-rayed and I told them about the pain, which was Oct. 2. That’s why I didn’t play the other two games. We taped it up in a way that we thought would help me in the postseason. They thought it might be a strain or a bone bruise. I don’t want to lay blame on anybody because in ’07 my other thumb got hurt and they thought it was a strain as well and it ended up being that way and everything settled down nice and easy.”

“I was in constant contact with the training staff and I told them at the two-week (mark) I didn’t feel a difference with my thumb and at the four-week mark it was the same thing and then at the seven-week mark Mike Reinold flew down to Miami to check it out and that’s when they decided to put me in the splint and keep it immobilized for a month. That’s when the thinking was that it might be something more than it was originally thought to be. The first day of the winter meetings was when I was ordered to get an MRI.

“I understand the business. That first day was to make sure the medicals could be sent to other teams. I have no problem in them shopping me around. But I would have preferred to have the surgery in October once the season was officially over. I don’t want to race to Spring Training.”

However, Lowell said that he didn’t expect it would require surgery either.

“Surgery? No,” Lowell said. “I was in a lot of pain in ’07 for a couple of weeks and the doctors told me it was going to get better and it did. I always defer to the medical staff. They know better than me, I’m not a doctor. So I did the same thing in this case, but I did mention concern as the weeks went by I wasn’t getting better.”

Does Lowell think he will still be traded? “I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea. That’s not my department.”

Lowell deal still in holding pattern

There are still issues to be worked out on a trade that would send third baseman Mike Lowell to the Rangers for Max Ramirez.

Peter Gammons, who left ESPN last week and will soon be working for the MLB Network and MLB.com, speculated on Twitter that Lowell might need left thumb surgery. A source confirmed to MLB.com that left thumb surgery is indeed not out of the realm of possibility for Lowell. With that in mind, the Rangers will give Lowell a physical in Texas before signing off on the deal. If it turns out Lowell does need surgery, it will be up to the Rangers to decide if they still want to make the trade.

If not, both sides could go in other directions. Lowell’s physical has not been scheduled yet, as both teams continue to study up on medical reports for the two players involved in the deal.

In other words, we are in a holding pattern here.

Flexibility at the corners

The Mike Lowell deal isn’t done just yet, but it will be within a matter of days. All that’s left is red tape and medical clearance.

So who plays third base for the Red Sox next season? Maybe Adrian Beltre. But don’t be surprised, either, if it’s Kevin Youkilis. Much like when it was floated out a couple of weeks ago that Dustin Pedroia could play shortstop, somehting that probably helped in leverage with Marco Scutaro, the Red Sox can take a similar road with Adrian Beltre. Yes, they could tell Scott Boras they’d really love Beltre to be their 2010 third baseman, but at a reasonable acquisition cost.

Otherwise, general manager Theo Epstein could go in any number of directions. Would they make Casey Kotchman the primary first baseman, perhaps signing Mark DeRosa to form some sort of left-right platoon? Would they go after Nick Johnson?

In a side note, away from baseball, we should all wish a very happy retirement to Master Sergeant Michael Warren Baker, known on MLBlogs as shakenbake. Sgt. Baker — an avid Sox fan — retired today, and he should be recognized for his fine career.

Lowell to Rangers not done yet

The Red Sox and Rangers are deep in negotiations about a deal that would send Mike Lowell and cash — as in a substantial portion of Lowell’s $12 million salary — to Texas for Minor League catcher Max Ramirez. But Rangers general manager Jon Daniels emphasized several times Thursday morning that the deal has not been completed.

Here is a transcript from the discussion Daniels had with the media.

“Both clubs understand where the other one is and what we’re looking to do. At the same time, we’re also both looking at alternatives and what our options are as we kind of go through the process. “I don’t really have anything specific to give you guys but I think some of the reports of how close it is might be a little bit overstated.”

Specific obstacle to complete the deal, “I think there is always different layers to these things but both clubs are kind of evaluating. I think the general parameters are understood but both clubs need to decide whether it’s the right fit.”

Any chance of Lowell physical before deal is done? “Premature for me to say that.”

How long to decide? “I don’t know, I don’t want to put a time-table on it.”

Reports on money, six to total, “There’s a financial component to it but I’m not going to address that specifically.”

Agreement on how to handle finances, “I’ll just say that the general parameters of the deal are relatively understood. Both clubs know what’s on the table and we’ll continue to talk here and work through it.”

Holdup? “We’re not at that stage. But in any deal, a review of the medicals is part of it.”

“As Boston has, there’s a lot of moving parts. Sometimes it’s beneficial to take a half-step back and evaluate things.”

One team or another as further down the road? “Both clubs are looking at it.”

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein departed Indianapolis on Thursday morning and was unavailable for comment.

How arbitration decisions could impact Red Sox

When the clock struck midnight and Monday turned to Tuesday, the Red
Sox had some more clarity to the market. Lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez
declined arbitration from the Braves, which means he is certainly
someone Boston will continue to pursue in an effort to shore up the
bullpen.

Having another lefty is not a be-all, end-all for
manager Terry Francona, but the Sox have long liked Gonzalez, who could
fill the void left by Billy Wagner. In essence, Gonzalez and Wagner
could swap positions as power lefties in the Boston and Atlanta
bullpen.

The question, however, is whether Gonzalez would
rather close elsewhere, an opportunity he won’t get in Boston as long
as Jonathan Papelbon is performing last call. And just because Rafael
Soriano, Atlanta’s hard-throwing righty, accepted arbitration, doesnt’
mean he can’t wind up in Boston. The Braves expect that Soriano,
feeling squeezed out by the addition of Wagner and Takashi Saito, will
be of the mind to request a trade.

Another player who has been
linked to the Red Sox who declined arbitration is third baseman Adrian
Beltre, a superb defender, albeit one whose offensive numbers have
declined in recent years. So if Boston makes a run at Beltre, you can be sure they will only do so if they have a trade worked out for Mike Lowell. Beltre is a Type B free agent, meaning the Mariners would get compensation if he leaves, but the Red Sox would not have to provide it. Ditto for Mark DeRosa, another free agent the Red Sox have kicked the tires on.

The Yankees are also in on DeRosa, who declined arbitration from the Cardinals. However, the versatile right-handed hitter, who can play corner infield and outfield, is looking for a three-year deal and would probably go somewhere where he can have a steady job, rather than play the roving utility role.  

Varitek handling reduced role; Clinch party?

The Red Sox had a lineup on Friday night that had Jason Varitek behind the plate and Mike Lowell — despite four homers and 14 RBIs lifetime against Joba Chamberlain — on the bench.

“I really wish it was a little bit different,” Francona said. “He’s swung the bat so well off of Joba. It just doesn’t seem to make much sense to do that. We’ve got a couple of lefties the next two days. Again, and I know the numbers, it’s tremendous. I’m just trying to do something to not hurt him physically.”

Most often of late, Varitek has been the one to feel the lineup squeeze that has existed since Victor Martinez was acquired on July 31. Over that span, the Red Sox had played 50 games entering Friday, with each guy catching 25. Of course, Martinez has started at first base in nearly every instance when he wasn’t caching, while Varitek has ben relegated to the bench.

How has Varitek handled that?

“There was a reason they put that ‘C’ on his chest,” Francona said. “Even through maybe disappointment, or like you referred to it, a little bit of a reduced role, he still exhibits a lot of leadership. He’s helped Victor and he will continue to be very valuable to what we’re doing.”

Francona said that Varitek will catch two of the three games this weekend, but didn’t say if Martinez will catch Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday.

“It’s a possibility,” Francona said. “We don’t quite know yet what we’re going to do tomorrow or the next day. I don’t know if we want Tek to catch all three. We’ll see.”

*****
In another matter, the Red Sox, as David Ortiz indicated Thursday in Kansas City, will have no reservations about spraying champagne at Yankee Stadium if they clinch the Wild Card this weekend.

Ortiz joked in KC that it would be nice not to have to get the home clubhouse at Fenway dirty.

Manager Terry Francona also indicated his team should relish the moment when they officially become one of the eight teams what will move on.

“Of course. Oh yeah. I’ve actually been asked a couple of times, hey, if this happens, are you guys going to celebrate?’ I could never quite understand that. Because we were fortunate enough to win six years ago and then a couple of years ago, why in the world would we not be happy if we’re fortunate enough to go back to the playoffs?” Francona said.

“I never did quite understand that. What we don’t need to do is choreograph anything. That’s the part I think we need to stay away from. A couple of years ago, when Pap danced out on the field after that crazy night when we were at home and Mora bunted [against the Yankees], [there was] all the craziness there that could probably only happen in New York or Boston. …  What I’d like for us to do is play good and if they’re comes a moment when we’re able to celebrate, just do whatever you feel like doing.”

Youk back in the fold; Lowell sits

For the first time since Game 1 of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader against the Rays, Red Sox manager Terry Francona produced a lineup on Friday night that included Kevin Youkilis.

The corner infielder, bothered by back spasms all week, was sufficiently recovered enough to return to his customary cleanup spot. Youkilis got the start at third base for the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.

“Yeah, he feels pretty good. Good enough where there were no qualms about playing him,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Mike Lowell got the night off but it was not for health reasons. Lowell is hitting .174 lifetime against Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie with one homer and seven RBIs. Casey Kotchman, who started at first place, effectively taking Lowell’s spot in the lineup, is a .429 hitter against Guthrie in a small sample size (3-for-7) with one homer and three RBIs But the move was basically to keep Lowell fresh.

“Not so much matchup because I think Mike is a good hitter,” Francona said. “He played three days in a row. We traveled last night. I wanted to get Kotch enough at-bats where he could help us.”

Ian Browne

Play Ball

Taprp coming off the field here at 10:31 p.m. It’s amazing how baseball works sometimes. Mike Lowell was supposed to have the night off, but Youk loses his temper and his helmet and gets thrown out of the game after being hit by a pitch. Next thing you know, Lowell is in the game and hits not one, but two home runs.

The last Sox player to hit two home runs off the bench? Joe Foy on June 9, 1967 against the Washington Senators.

Tazawa is in line to get the win. He settled down nicely after a rocky first which was prolonged by Nick Green’s error.

One of the most encouraging signs of the night was the absolute rocket that Jason Bay hit.

I’m sure the Red Sox will lose Youkilis for five to seven games once the league comes out with punishment. But the Red Sox are fortunate to be deep at the corners with Martinez, Kotchman and Lowell.

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