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Most recent spin has Lowell on the move

It flies in the face of Terry Francona telling third baseman Mike Lowell last week on the West Coast that he would not be traded, but according to a major league executive who said he spoke directly with one of the three teams involved, the Red Sox are working on a three-way deal with Tampa Bay and San Diego in which they would end up with Devil Rays infielder Julio Lugo and Padres setup man Scott Linebrink, with Lowell going to the Padres. The Devil Rays presumably would end up with prospects from one or both clubs.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein will not comment on trade rumors involving the Sox and one of the teams involved quickly dismissed the rumor. Another major league executive confirmed the Padres' willingness to trade Linebrink, and it is well known that San Diego has been seeking a third baseman. The Padres had offered Linebrink to the Braves for Wilson Betemit, the source said, but the Braves instead traded Betemit to the Dodgers for another reliever, Danys Baez, plus infielder Manny Aybar.

The Blue Jays, who have been in the market for a shortstop, had been in talks with the Devil Rays regarding Lugo, although GM J.P. Ricciardi said yesterday morning he was out of the Lugo sweepstakes. A Red Sox source said last week that while the Sox liked Lugo, they expected to have more interest in him this winter if he becomes a free agent.

The day was rife with rumors, including one in which second baseman Mark Loretta, who was not in last night's starting lineup, had left the ballpark before the game in street clothes. Loretta was in the dugout a few minutes before the game, in full uniform.

Sore subject
Just when Manny Delcarmen had begun to solidify the setup role in front of Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon, he awoke ``six or seven" days ago in Seattle with soreness and inflammation at the base of his right thumb, which did not affect his ability to throw, but caused pain and inaccuracy, especially with breaking balls. ``My four-seamer right now I can't throw it away on the corner, everything keeps running in," Delcarmen said. ``When I want to throw my curveball the way I want it, that's when I really feel it. I'd rather say something now than have it get worse and become a big issue later. My velocity's [the same], but I can't really control where I want the ball to go now." So Delcarmen will get some rest, allowing the pain and inflammation to subside before he returns to the mound, though he says he still can throw at this point. Before he went out to batting practice, Delcarmen said he got some treatment on the injured area, including a light skin massage . . . Andy Marte, the one-time Sox prospect sent to Cleveland as part of the Coco Crisp trade, arrived in the big leagues this weekend fresh off an 0-for-17 slump with Triple A Buffalo. Marte, who the Sox acquired by Boston for Edgar Renteria in December, will man the hot corner for Indians at Fenway tonight. So far, he's 0 for 5 with an error in two games. Asked what he knows about Marte, who spent a mere 50 days with the organization, Francona said he's never seen him play and never talked with him. ``I hope he goes 0 for 12," said the manager.

Rebound action
David Wells, who made his last start for the Sox May 26, returns to the hill tonight to face the Indians at Fenway Park. Wells started the season on the disabled list following offseason knee surgery, made one start, then went back on the DL with what was called a sprained right knee. He returned six weeks later but was struck in the knee by a line drive by Travis Lee of the Devil Rays in the fifth inning of that May 26 game at Fenway. That injury was diagnosed as a deep bruise, and Wells has been out since. ``He's going to pitch [tonight] and I hope he pitches great," Francona said. ``He's passed all the tests. He's actually done a great job. When he got that shot in the knee, I think he thought he was done for a while. He could have hung it up; nobody would have blamed him. I'm excited for us, I'm excited for him. If he's able to give us eight, nine, 10 starts, if he's healthy he's going to win some of those starts." Francona said he expects Wells to have a limit of 95-100 pitches, maximum . . . Keith Foulke, who was to have thrown an inning for Pawtucket, was scratched with lower back tightness, a condition that has plagued him throughout his time with the Sox . . . The Sox acquired righthanded reliever Bryan Corey from the Rangers in exchange for fellow righty reliever Luis Mendoza. To make room on the roster, Boston transferred Matt Clement from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Clement has been sidelined since June 15 with a right shoulder strain . . . The Angels placed Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon on the 15-day DL with tendinitis in his right triceps. He was previously on the DL with right shoulder inflammation . . . Before last night, the only other time Curt Schilling gave up three home runs in an inning was Sept. 21, 1997, against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. Schilling was with the Phillies at the time.

Amalie Benjamin of the Globe staff and correspondent Kelsie Smith contributed to this report.

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