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Red Sox Notebook

Lowell’s thumb the holdup

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / December 13, 2009

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The trade of Mike Lowell to Texas, agreed to on Wednesday, has yet to be made official as the Rangers delve into the health of the third baseman.

Texas is further examining the condition of Lowell’s right thumb, an injury that hampered him near the end of last season. According to major league sources, the Rangers are satisfied with the status of Lowell’s surgically repaired right hip.

“There are still things to go over,’’ Red Sox assistant general manager Ben Cherington said yesterday. “It would not be a complete surprise if it didn’t happen.’’

The Red Sox would get catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez in return for Lowell. The Sox also agreed to give Texas $9 million toward the $12 million Lowell has remaining on his contract. Commissioner Bud Selig must approve that aspect of the transaction. As of yesterday, that paperwork had not reached his desk. Red Sox manager Terry Francona has yet to speak to Lowell about the deal, preferring to wait until it’s official.

“It’s hard, I can’t really comment on it because it hasn’t gone through,’’ Francona said. “I just can’t. If something happens, I’ll call him.’’

Anderson is out
The Red Sox did not offer a contract to outfielder Brian Anderson, who hit .294 over 21 games after being obtained from the White Sox in July.

The team did make offers to righthanders Fernando Cabrera, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon S. Ramirez, and Jonathan Papelbon along with lefthander Hideki Okajima, outfielder Jeremy Hermida, and first baseman Casey Kotchman.

In most of the cases, a deal will be reached before arbitration hearings in February.

Christmas cheer
Francona was on hand to greet some of the 2,000 fans who turned out for the annual “Christmas at Fenway’’ event that kicks off ticket sales. He sympathizes with those looking for the team to make a significant trade or free agent signing.

“It’s hard not to,’’ he said. “Fans, they want their team now and I probably fall under that a little bit, too. But from watching the front office do their stuff, you can make mistakes if you act too fast. You have to be patient. You have to let it follow its course.

“I know we have enough faith in the guys who run the team. When we get to spring training we’ll have a team we like a lot.’’

Francona marveled at the enthusiasm of fans turning out on a cold day.

“I’m fortunate,’’ he said. “I haven’t managed a game here that wasn’t sold out. Think about that. It’s incredible. Very appreciative, those are the right words. I know our owners don’t take it for granted.’’

Lowrie optimistic
Infielder Jed Lowrie said his troublesome left wrist appears to have fully healed and he hopes to start swinging a bat Jan. 1.

“I need to start building up,’’ he said. “But at the same, make sure I give it enough time. I need to strike that balance. I’ll have to be more in tune with my wrist. If it feels good, I’ll take a few more swings. If not, I’ll back off. I started playing seven weeks after surgery and sometimes it needs time.’’

Lowrie is planning to work with his trainer, Jason Riley, in Florida starting in mid-January. Riley is the same trainer Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has credited with helping improve his lateral movement in recent years.

“I just need to prove my wrist is healthy. I’ve never had any other injury problems. Once I get this figured out, things will be looking up,’’ Lowrie said.

Big on Bonser
Francona on newly acquired righthander Boof Bonser: “He’s a guy we’ve kind of liked for a while. He can start or come out of the bullpen and that’s not easy to do. He’s coming off an injury and that’s the only way you can get guys like that. He has a chance to help us.’’ Bonser signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $650,000 yesterday, avoiding arbitration. The Sox also sent Double A righthander Chris Province to Minnesota to complete the trade for Bonser. Province, 24, was 2-4 with one save and a 2.60 ERA in 43 relief appearances . . . Most of the fans were gawking at the infield and the start of construction of the hockey rink that will be used for the NHL’s Winter Classic game between the Bruins and Flyers Jan. 1. Team president Larry Lucchino said the rink would be ready Dec. 18 and stay up until Jan. 10. . . . Delcarmen and righthander Michael Bowden were also on hand along with new first base coach Ron Johnson, Luis Tiant and Frank Malzone.

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