Jed Lowrie will be the backup infielder on the Red Sox first round roster, manager Terry Francona said a short while ago. The move did not come as a surprise given the status of Nick Green and Chris Woodward, the other two candidates. Woodward is still tending to his wife, who recently gave birth, and Green said today, “Right now, I don’t think I’ll be able to” play in the first round.
Lowrie’s wrist is not 100 percent, but he proved over the season’s final weekend, when hit lefthanded consecutive days and clobbered a grand slam, that he is capable. Lowrie said his wrist felt “a little tight” today, which is “normal stuff.”
As insurance, the Red Sox added shortstop Gil Velazquez to their clubhouse. Velazquez would have become a free agent Monday, but when the Red Sox called him Saturday it ensured he would extend his contract with the Sox until the end of the World Series.
When Velazquez got the call, he was in Los Angeles visiting family for the weekend. For three weeks he had been playing in La Liga Mexico del Pacifico, a Mexican winter league.
“I was shocked,” Velazquez said.
Velazquez will not be active, but if anyone knows how quickly that can change, iut’s him. Velazquez, a career minor league, found himself in a similar position last year. He traveled with the Sox to Anaheim last year, too. When Mike Lowell was lost for the season, he was added to the roster as a backup infielder.
The Sox have several other health concerns, starting with Rocco Baldelli. The Sox had no formal update on his strained left hip flexor.
“He’s still pretty tender,” Francona said. “I think we plan on taking the full allotment of time just to see if he’s OK because of the threat he presents from the right side. I don’t know if it will work out or not. We’re not going to put him on if he can’t play. But if he can, we’d like to have him.”
The flight out here did not help Manny Delcarmen’s stiff back, the lasting effect from his weekend car accident. Delcarmen soaked himself in a cold tub today and planned and throwing as much as he could. Yesterday, in a workout at Fenway Park, Delcarmen threw up to 120 feet, at which point the left side of his neck started to hurt. Delcarmen is hopeful to get himself feeling good enough to contribute starting Thursday, but him landing on the roster for round one seems like a bad bet.
Mike Lowell’s thumb, he said, is fine and ready to go.
One interesting nugget that came out of the clubhouse: Jason Bay was asked who he thought would “rise to the occasion” in these playoffs. It’s the kind of question players usually revert to clichés on, that brings an answer like, Well, hey, you never know, I trust any of teammates, etc. Bay took a different approach.
“My pick is going to be David” Ortiz, Bay said. “I think a lot of people forget that he’s a huge part of this team.”
We’ll see if he’s right.