Weekend respite a break for Lowell
WASHINGTON - Mike Lowell often talked his way into the lineup during his first three seasons with the Red Sox. On days when manager Terry Francona thought his third baseman might need a day off, Lowell persuaded him otherwise and gritted through a game. This year, after major offseason hip surgery, Lowell has taken a different tack.
“Just because I can grind out a day doesn’t mean, if he wants to give me the day off, that I should talk him out of it,’’ Lowell said.
Last night, Lowell returned from two games and three days of rest, his longest break this year. Lowell had played in 65 of the first 67 games before receiving Saturday and Sunday off. But by Friday, his hip had grown stiff and sore, and when Francona offered him an extended break, Lowell agreed.
“I hope it helped a lot,’’ Francona said. “I think he was pretty sore. That’s my fault, because he’s willing to go out there and doesn’t complain. I probably should have made him sit a few times and I didn’t and I need to do better in that area.’’
The wear had seemingly taken a toll on Lowell at the plate. After the first week of June, Lowell was batting .302. Over the past two weeks, he was 8 for 38 (.211) with two extra-base hits. Settling into his position every pitch gradually wore him down. The pain was not constant, but some days his hip would feel “locked up,’’ Lowell said.
The days off helped.
“I feel rested,’’ Lowell said before going 1 for 5 in Boston’s 11-3 rout. “It’s better, but I kind of want to find out if it’s something about the preparation or the routine. I don’t like to feel tight going into a game.’’
Adam Kilgore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org