Kotsay may be left as the odd man out
ARLINGTON, Texas - Getting ready to take the field for a game he would not play, Mike Lowell said he was not worried about the effect the Red Sox’ acquisition of Adam LaRoche from the Pirates would have on him. He seemed unconcerned with the move, as long as he can stay healthy. And in that, he hit on the worries of his manager and general manager.
“I think he has worked remarkably hard to put himself in a position to play in major league games and help the club,’’ GM Theo Epstein said yesterday in a conference call. “I think he is helping the club. I think it’s clear to those that watch the game that he’s not moving around as well as he would like. The prognosis is that he’ll get better. When he had the surgery, the doctors [said] he might not be 100 percent until 2010.
“It’s clear that he’s really grinding and it’s clear that he’s still able to put together good at-bats. It’s also clear that he’s probably more limited now running the bases than he will be when he recovers fully. When Mike gets a little better rest, he benefits from it and he’s fresher and we get a better player.’’
LaRoche could provide that rest, taking over at first base as Kevin Youkilis moves to third when Lowell needs a rest. LaRoche also could bolster the team’s hitting against righthanded pitching.
But of more concern in the clubhouse was how the move will affect the team.
“I spoke to Theo and he told me that they’re always doing what they can to upgrade the team,’’ said Lowell. “I’d probably question him as a GM if he wasn’t. That’s his choice and we’ll just see how it plays out. I really don’t know how it’s going to play out. If I’m in the lineup and I’m hitting, I’m probably going to stay in the lineup and hit. So it’s not really that big a deal to me.’’
Manager Terry Francona spoke with Lowell and Mark Kotsay, the players most likely affected by the addition of LaRoche. Lowell has to worry only about his playing time and his health, but someone on the 25-man roster will need to be removed, either placed on the disabled list or designated for assignment.
“Sometimes you have to ask guys to put the team [first] - not sometimes, all the time,’’ Francona said. “I’m confident that we have guys that’ll do that. That doesn’t mean Mikey has to jump up and down for joy. I wouldn’t expect him to.’’
Kotsay appears to be on the bubble. Unless the Sox choose to carry 11 pitchers - they currently have 12, as they have for the majority of the season - Kotsay could be the odd man out. Though Kotsay has had trouble with his calf this season since injuring it on a rehab assignment, he is unlikely to be a candidate for the DL.
The Sox will have discussions today to determine the roster move, with it becoming official tomorrow when LaRoche joins the team.
“We’ve had discussions,’’ Kotsay said. “I really don’t want to talk about that, but like I said, the organization is going to make some decisions and I think that’s been addressed by Theo and we’ll let it play out.
“Obviously you always have a concern any time you’re a role player on a club and they make an acquisition. For a player, you realize it could lie in your future. The cards could play out unexpectedly and if that’s the case, that’s the reality of the business. You deal with it and you move forward.’’
Material from the Associated Press was used; Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.