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How did the Red Sox not know Lowell needed thumb surgery?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 20, 2009 09:44 PM

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Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington appeared on Sirius XM's MLB Home Plate channel today with Holden Kushner and Jim Duquette and talked about the Mike Lowell situation.

One of the questions he was asked was how the Rangers figured out that Lowell had a torn ligament in his right thumb and the Red Sox had not.

"I guess hindsight is 20/20 in these cases. When the initial injury happened he, nor our medical staff, really felt it was that serious. It was just one of those things where he got jammed a little bit, felt it a little bit during a BP swing. It was towards the end of the year, we were trying to get ready for the playoffs and so we didn't want to take any chances, give him some time off to get rested. And even at the end of the playoffs, in our exit physical, he barely made mention of it," Cherington said.

"Just one of those things as a player you get used to being a little dinged up at the end of the season. I think that's how he felt it. And then Mike, as many players do, sort of took his customary break after the season, let the body heal and then when he went to pick up a bat again recently as per his normal schedule he still felt a little bit in there and so wanted to get it checked out. And that's when he got it checked out.

"The good news is that the injury is on the outside of the thumb if you can imagine that, the radial collateral ligament is on the outside. It's a less significant spot for a hitter. It's just sort of a freak thing that you happen to injure this ligament swinging a bat but it's less significant, the recovery time is quicker so we're very optimistic that he'll be ready in spring training and ready to play on Opening Day."

So how do the Sox pick up the pieces now?

"Well, I think the main thing for us now is just to help Mike get healthy," Cherington said. "He's a good player, has been a good player and certainly a quality person. He's been a big part of our team for the last several years and the trade, as we talked to Texas, it wasn't about not wanting Mike Lowell. It was about possibly making a move to get a player we liked back and give us a little bit of financial flexibility to do some other things. And if it doesn't happen I think, again, the key for us is to help Mike get healthy.

"All the reports indicate that he should be 100 percent in spring training, let him go out there and play and he's either an important part of our team moving forward, a guy who obviously provides a good bat at third base so we have flexibility with (Kevin Youkilis) who can move between third and first. Mike's an excellent hitter, an excellent hitter at Fenway Park, and so he'll be an important part of our team and certainly if there's interest down the road we can consider that."

Interesting comments from Cherington, as it certainly appears the Red Sox would still look to move Lowell, perhaps even to the Rangers. If he shows in spring training that he can swing a bat, Lowell could be on the move again. Given the $9 million they were willing to dine on, the Sox appear motivated to get Lowell out of town.

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