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Lowell will get his chances

Epstein: Situation will resolve itself

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / January 9, 2010

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The Red Sox introduced their new third baseman yesterday, having Adrian Beltre smile for the cameras and show off a home jersey with No. 29 on the back.

But what of the old third baseman?

Mike Lowell remains on the Red Sox roster, his December trade to Texas canceled because of a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery. With the Red Sox committed to using Beltre at third base and David Ortiz as the designated hitter, Lowell is a $12 million player without a position.

“It might look awkward from the outside,’’ general manager Theo Epstein said. “But it’s a situation that will probably take care of itself, as long as we stay on the same page and we certainly are right now.’’

Epstein has spoken to Lowell’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, and all parties agree that what is best for Lowell now is to demonstrate his ability to play during spring training.

“If Mike gets out on the field and shows that he is 100 percent healthy as we expect him to be a couple weeks into spring training and starts playing well, there will be an opportunity for him,’’ Epstein said. “If it’s here, if other players don’t show up in good health, or elsewhere, he’s going to be a sought-after player and we’ll probably be able to put Mike in a situation here or elsewhere where he can really make an impact on a team.’’

The Red Sox were willing to include $9 million to make the trade with Texas, so another deal is likely in the coming months.

Talking up Hall
The arrival of Bill Hall via trade with Seattle did not merit a press conference. But Epstein is hopeful he can play a role off the bench.

“Bill Hall is someone who, for us, provides tremendous versatility and some pop from the right side,’’ Epstein said. “We’ve been looking for years now for someone who can play solid defense at a number of positions, including in the outfield and in the infield, and we think Bill Hall represents that for us.

Hall, 30, finished with career lows in batting average (.201), home runs (8), and RBIs (36) for the Brewers and Mariners last season, part of what has been a three-year decline at the plate since a 35-homer, 85-RBI season for the Brewers in 2006.

“I know he’s working hard looking for answers himself,’’ said Epstein, noting that Hall has joined the group of big leaguers who work out at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona.

The Red Sox obtained Hall and a player to be named for first baseman Casey Kotchman this week.

The Brewers agreed to pay $7,150,000 of the $8.4 million Hall is owed for 2010 when they traded him to the Mariners. That money will now be funneled toward Boston.

Boras approves move
Agent Scott Boras, at Fenway Park for Beltre’s press conference, discussed several other clients.

He said he is comfortable with the idea of Jacoby Ellsbury being moved from center field to left to accommodate Mike Cameron.

“The issue is that he’s so athletic offensively, stealing 70 bases and scoring 100 runs. Historically, the guys who do that, they all have to be left fielders because [center field is] just so demanding,’’ Boras said.

“I think Mike is a true center fielder because he has always played center field. Jacoby as an athlete, he’s better positioned to play left field than Mike is. But I don’t think anybody is ruling out Jacoby being the center fielder when Mike’s position here ends.’’

Boras said that righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka is spending a second stint working at API in Arizona.

“He’s getting ahead,’’ Boras said. “He understands what needed to be done.’’

Another Boras client, right fielder J.D. Drew, has had no problems following October surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder.

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