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Lowell needs surgery, trade off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 19, 2009 09:05 PM

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Don't toss out that Mike Lowell jersey.

According to a major league source, the third baseman needs surgery on the radial collateral ligament in his right thumb and the trade to Texas that was agreed upon 11 days ago is off.

Lowell will have surgery after Christmas and is expected to need 6-8 weeks of recovery time. The hope is he will be ready for spring training. 

UPDATE, 12:19 a.m.: The return of Lowell presents an interesting dilemma for the Red Sox. These would seem to be the options.

Option A: Lowell plays third base.

Option B: Lowell plays first base with Kevin Youkilis moving to third.

Option C: Lowell becomes a right-handed DH and occasional infielder.

Option D: Lowell shows he can play in spring training, gets traded again.

Option E: Lowell gets released.

The interesting dynamic will be how Lowell handles returning to the Red Sox knowing that Theo Epstein was willing to trade him to Texas for a Triple-A catcher coming off a bad season. The general impression is that Lowell is a pro's pro, but how would you feel if your boss ran you out then took you back 11 days later because he had no choice?

This marks the third time in recent years that the Red Sox tried to take Lowell out of the mix. There were trade discussions with Colorado in 2006; the Sox tried to sign Mark Teixeira in 2008 and now we have the aborted trade to Texas. He's bound to be a little miffed.

Meanwhile, as the Sox approach MLB's payroll tax threshold, they no longer will realize the $3 million in savings that the trade would have meant. Epstein still needs to assemble a bench and add a few bullpen options.

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