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Red Sox notebook

Lowell a real nowhere man

He isn’t playing — or complaining

The Sox unveiled a statue, inspired by a David Halberstam book, of “The Teammates’’ — Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio — outside Fenway Park. Attending were Pesky, DiMaggio’s widow Emily, and Doerr. The Sox unveiled a statue, inspired by a David Halberstam book, of “The Teammates’’ — Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio — outside Fenway Park. Attending were Pesky, DiMaggio’s widow Emily, and Doerr. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / June 10, 2010

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CLEVELAND — Mike Lowell knows there’s nothing he can do. He has known that since the offseason, when it became apparent there was no place for him on the Red Sox. Yet even as his playing time has dwindled to next to nothing, Lowell has put in time fielding grounders, taking batting practice, and most often just sitting on the bench.

At least one of his teammates, former Angel John Lackey, has taken to good-natured clubhouse banter that demonstrates how little Lowell has seen the field.

“Lackey’s getting all over me,’’ said Lowell, “saying, ‘Tell Sosh [Angels manager Mike Scioscia] I say hi,’ all that stuff.’’

The Angels are lacking a true first baseman since Kendry Morales fractured his leg in celebration of a walkoff home run. Los Angeles could be where Lowell finds a home, instead of languishing on the Boston bench.

“I thought about it a little with the Angels,’’ Lowell said. “I don’t know what the thought process is of other teams. I don’t know what they have in the minor leagues. [Jeff] Mathis is coming back, they’re going to have three catchers, maybe they want to keep them all on the roster. There are a lot of dynamics I’m probably not aware of.

“If the team tried to move me in the offseason, I don’t think they’re saying [now], ‘Mike’s an untouchable.’ I think we’re well past that one.

“It’s human nature to see, is this team a fit, is this not a fit? Now, what you can do about it? You really can’t do anything about it, unless they want to do it.’’

Since May 22, Lowell has played just twice. That’s two games in 2 1/2 weeks, not what he is used to when healthy. Asked how he’s handling the situation, Lowell said, “Day by day. That’s all you can do.’’

It’s clear the Sox don’t need Lowell. They could use a backup middle infielder, with Bill Hall their only option behind Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia, which makes it risky when Hall plays the outfield and then leaves the game for a pinch hitter.

Asked if it’s hard to find playing time for Lowell of late, manager Terry Francona said, “We’ve got a third baseman that’s hitting everything in sight, first baseman might be one of the best hitters in the game, and our DH has had a month that was unparalleled, so I guess the answer would be yes.

“Our object is to win. Sometimes it’s hard. I agree, Mikey hasn’t played a lot lately. I certainly understand that. But we’ve played good baseball. That’s got to be our first objective.

“I think he understands it. I don’t think he probably likes the idea of his playing time . . . but the object is to win.’’

That’s clear to Lowell. It just doesn’t make him happy, not when he believes he’s capable of starting.

“It’s very hard for me to play health-wise the way I did last year on the condition knowing that this year was going to be so much better, and it is, and now there’s no playing time,’’ said Lowell. “The numbers don’t match up for me. So I think that’s the catch I’m in.

“I don’t believe that anyone’s owed anything in this game. I think this is a numbers game. You either produce or you don’t.’’

Which leads him to question what opportunities there may be for him next year, even though he has talked about retiring.

“What happens next year? Minor league invite? Are you kidding me?’’ he said. “That’s what I don’t look forward to.’’

That’s the future, though. Right now, he has a seemingly permanent seat on the bench, with Adrian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz all producing.

Second opinion
There was a small update on Jacoby Ellsbury, who was being examined at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic in Los Angeles yesterday. “We’re going to try to meet here in a little bit,’’ Francona said, in order for Dr. Thomas Gill and Dr. Lewis Yocum to talk about the situation. “It sounds like Dr. Yocum, at least preliminarily, thinks he needs a little bit more rest. But we want the chance to kind of make sure everybody’s on the same page.’’ Ellsbury has played just three games since his collision with Beltre in Kansas City April 11. Francona did not elaborate on how long Ellsbury might need before he would be ready to return from his four fractured ribs . . . Jonathan Papelbon will not rejoin the Sox today, even though his minimum three-day stay on the bereavement/family emergency list ends. Instead, Papelbon will meet the team when it returns to Boston for a three-game series against the Phillies starting tomorrow, though it’s not clear when he will be put back on the roster. The maximum stay on the list is seven days.

Return of Boof
Boof Bonser made his return to the majors last night, his first appearance since 2008. It didn’t go well. Bonser came in to relieve Clay Buchholz in the eighth inning, going walk, single, walk, single, before being removed. All four runners eventually scored — as did four more — when Joe Nelson couldn’t clean up Bonser’s mess. “If anything, it wasn’t rust, I was over-amped maybe, but that was about it,’’ Bonser said. “I felt fine, shoulder was good.’’ . . . Had the Sox needed Manny Delcarmen, the reliever would have been available for the first time since coming out of Sunday’s game with a stiff back . . . The Sox were held to a season-low two hits . . . Boston had won seven straight over Cleveland . . . Josh Beckett (lower back strain) is tentatively scheduled to throw Saturday, but will need to pass strength tests before the Sox deem him ready.

As the stomach turns
Daisuke Matsuzaka threw up prior to his side session, which was then postponed until today. “Intestinal turmoil,’’ said Francona. “We’re going to send him back to the hotel, let him feel better, and then tomorrow if he feels better, he’ll throw a little lighter side. The hope is he ate something, it’s not the flu. The best part of it was I wasn’t there. Might have been a chain reaction.’’ . . . Not that it helped, but the Sox loaded up with lefthanded batters — including an all-lefty outfield of J.D. Drew, Josh Reddick, and Jeremy Hermida — against Justin Masterson . . . The clubhouse was buzzing about the debut of Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg. Beckett said what impressed him was not only the 99-100-mile-per-hour fastball but the hard, biting curveball. Beckett referred to him as “The real Sidd Finch.’’

There for the taking
The Sox made 20 more selections on the third and final day of the draft, including catcher Zach Kapstein, nephew of the team’s senior adviser for baseball projects, Jeremy Kapstein, in the 44th round. In the final tally, the Sox chose 26 pitchers (22 righthanders, 4 lefthanders), 9 infielders, 10 outfielders, and 7 catchers. Of their 52 selections, 33 were high school and 19 were college players. The Sox took two other players with New England ties, selecting outfielder Thomas Bourdon from Simsbury, Conn., in the 38th round, and first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth from Mattapoisett and Yale in the 49th round. The Sox dedicated their draft to longtime scout and former pitcher Jerry Stephenson, who died Sunday at 66.

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com.

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