THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Red Sox notebook

Kotsay may be left as the odd man out

David Murphy (left) scores on a suicide squeeze bunt by Elvis Andrus, who scampers safely to first as Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz fields the ball. David Murphy (left) scores on a suicide squeeze bunt by Elvis Andrus, who scampers safely to first as Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz fields the ball. (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)
By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / July 23, 2009

Email this article

Invalid email address
Invalid email address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

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.’’

A rare feat
The Rangers secured a season series win against the Sox; they have done that just once in the past nine seasons (in 2004) . . . The Rangers set a season high with six steals, one short of the franchise record. It was the sixth time they’ve had that many thefts in a game, the last time Sept. 28, 2000 at Seattle . . . The last time the Sox were swept in a series was in a two-game set to the Blue Jays in August of last season. The last three game sweep of the Sox was July 28-30 of last season against the Angels . . . The Sox will retire Jim Rice’s No. 14 before Tuesday’s game vs. the A’s. “As a fan of the game and a steward of this great franchise, it is an honor to be a part of the Red Sox during this special moment in the team’s history,’’ principal owner John Henry said in a statement. “The retirement of his number will be a fitting way to honor one of the most dominant hitters to ever wear a Red Sox uniform.’’ Rice will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Sunday.

Tough times
The Sox had hit .194 since the All-Star break before last night’s game, and .161 with runners in scoring position, but Epstein said the lack of offense had nothing to do with the move for LaRoche. “I think we’re a good offensive club having a horrific month,’’ he said. “When you go through slumps like this, one, it’s important to assess any areas where you can improve without overreacting, and two, to put it in perspective. We have the potential to be really, really good. But we’re not the most prolific offensive club in recent Red Sox history. We certainly have the ability to score enough runs to get where we want to go.’’ . . . Vicente Padilla, who was scheduled to start for the Rangers, was scratched. Dustin Nippert took his place. A bug is running through the Rangers, which caused a bunch of them to put their shirts over their noses in the clubhouse before the game. As Francona said jokingly, “Maybe they’ll pass it around to [Hank] Blalock.’’ The first baseman had four hits in the first two games of the series . . . According to a denverpost.com story, former Sox reliever Mike Timlin, a free agent at 43, has worked out for the Rockies and will throw another bullpen session tomorrow, at which point the team will decide whether to offer him a minor league contract . . . Miguel Munoz, a minor leaguer in the Rangers’ system, was suspended 100 games for a second positive drug test, and teammate Orlando Caraballo was banned 50 games for his first violation of baseball’s minor league drug policy.

Material from the Associated Press was used; Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com.

Red Sox player search

Find the latest stats and news on:
Youk | Big Papi | Jason Varitek |

Red Sox Twitter

    Waiting for Twitter.com...

Tweets from the Nation

Check out what everyone on Twitter is saying about the Red Sox.   (Note: Content is unmoderated and may contain expletives)

Red Sox audio and video

Sox-related multimedia from around the web.