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Lowell heads to disabled list

Twinge in hip leads to his latest stint

MIKE LOWELL Won’t hide any injuries MIKE LOWELL
Won’t hide any injuries
By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / June 25, 2010

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DENVER — This has not been an easy season for Mike Lowell, as he has been shifted aside, left without a role on a Red Sox team that once relied on him. And it took another turn yesterday, as the 36-year-old third baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hip after feeling a twinge in the area while taking flips in the batting cage Tuesday.

That night, after Lowell was brought in to pinch hit in the ninth inning, he could barely run to first base on a game-ending ground out to Colorado shortstop Clint Barmes, a play on which Lowell said Barmes “pretty much embarrassed me.’’

After that game, Lowell denied there were any problems with the hip, as did manager Terry Francona. But once he let his anger and humiliation die down, Lowell text-messaged Francona with the news that his hip wasn’t right.

So with the Sox needing a roster spot for last night’s starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Lowell landed on the DL, a development that he wasn’t exactly angry about.

“I think I have a little bit of a guilty conscience already with my roster spot and how I’m used,’’ Lowell said. “So I feel like if I’m taking a different swing, now I’m really not contributing. So I think that’s why I made it a point to tell Tito, because I’m not really happy with the way I’m performing.’’

So instead of sitting on the bench and hardly ever hearing his name called, Lowell will take a few days to weigh his options with Dr. Brian Kelly, the surgeon who performed his hip surgery in 2008. He said cortisone was likely to be a more viable option than the synthetic lubricant Synvisc, which Lowell said “gives you about three days of puppy love.’’

Lowell acknowledged that he had one injection this year, though not during the season.

“I do have reservations about using cortisone all the time,’’ said Lowell, who added that he’s a candidate for both hip replacement or resurfacing. “Even my surgeon says that it eats away at cartilage. I don’t have much left.

“I’ve expressed I don’t have the desire to get a hip replacement at 40. I think if you’re playing every day, you’re willing to do a lot more. I think that’s human nature.’’

Ultimately, though, it’s far easier for Lowell to take time off at this point, given that he has had just 13 at-bats in June and only one since June 13.

So, he was asked, does heading to the disabled list ease a bit of that guilty conscience?

“A little bit, honestly,’’ he said. “Not that I’m happy with it. But I don’t want to feel handicapped for myself or for the team.’’

Lowell has spent much of the season wondering whether the Sox would deal him or release him. He said he was sure his agent had explored such scenarios with the Sox, though, as he said, “I don’t think we’re there.’’ He also said he hadn’t requested that his agent discuss a release.

Asked whether this stint on the DL might hurt his chances to be picked up by another team, should it come to that, Lowell didn’t exactly sound like a player seeking a way out. He just sounded caught.

“I don’t think that helps my cause,’’ he said. “But I don’t think there’s a team out there that was going to say, ‘We’re getting this guy the way he was in 2004.’

“But I hate to look at the fact that I’m a member of this team looking at other teams. Because if I don’t get traded and we reach the postseason, one at-bat could be the difference in the game. That could be satisfying in itself.’’

He didn’t want to look dishonest, he said, not knowing whether the Sox were in talks about him. So, he said, he thought this was the right route.

“I don’t really see the days off as being that negative, because I’m not playing that much,’’ Lowell said. “So that’s why I’m not terribly upset or anything about the move.’’

Youkilis sits
While Francona had said that Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, and David Ortiz would play two games each in Colorado, Youkilis sat out last night after missing Wednesday’s as well, with a sore elbow. “He got hit the other day on that ulnar nerve,’’ Francona said. “He’s having a little bit of a hard time because he got hit on the nerve. It’s kind of going down his forearm.’’ Francona said the elbow was bothering Youkilis when he gripped a bat. But he also expects Youkilis to return tonight against the Giants . . . J.D. Drew is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow, after being out since last Friday with a strained right hamstring . . . A day after Victor Martinez sustained a big hit at home plate from Barmes, he was out of the starting lineup, though he did not come out of Wednesday’s game. Jason Varitek caught Matsuzaka last night . . . Daniel Nava was moved up to second in the batting order. He went into last night batting .382 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 10 games . . . Josh Reddick exited last night’s game after banging his knee on the right-field wall chasing a foul ball . Francona didn’t think it was anything major . . . Mike Cameron did not leave the game with an injury when he was replaced in the batting order by Jonathan Papelbon. “He’s OK,’’ Francona said. “We wanted to free it up for Pap [to pitch the 10th]. When you’re talking about being out of players, better leave the healthiest guys out there.’’ . . . The Sox are likely to make a roster move tomorrow, after using all but one pitcher in the bullpen. And the one player who didn’t pitch, Dustin Richardson, started warming up in the first inning when Daisuke Matsuzaka was struggling. “I’m sure we’ll have to kind of sit down and go over some pitching, because we’re a little short,’’ Francona said.

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