FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Lowell took the high road in every way possible at a 21-minute press conference Tuesday on the bench outside the clubhouse at the Red Sox spring training facility.
First, some basics you need to know:
- He is swinging at balls off a tee and his surgically repaired right thumb is healing rapidly. Lowell feels like he is a week or so away from taking batting practice and then it would be an easy transition to playing in a game.
“I’m not really worried about my thumb much. The surgery went really well, the rehab’s gone really well. I’m hitting off a tee. I’m assuming that within a week I’m hitting batting practice and everything. I don’t see that as a major problem.”
- His right hip is “10 times” stronger than it was a year ago. Lowell said it only bothers him when he runs and that his first step has returned. That should, in theory, improve how he plays in the field.
“It’s probably about 10 times stronger than it was last year. I was able to use the offseason to strengthen and get flexibility and range of motion. I’m pretty optimistic.”
- Lowell said the Red Sox have not approached him about playing on the team in a reserve role. “I can’t imagine I’m not on the trading block,” he said.
- Lowell said that while he appreciates the support of the fans, “Nobody should feel sorry for me.” He said he is able to separate baseball from his life and that his life is fine. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in the big leagues this season,” he said.
Lowell revealed how he is approaching his situation from a personal standpoint:
“I’m getting ready for a season. I think I’m pretty intelligent in a sense that there’s no real playing time for me here basically barring a major injury and I’m not really in the business of hoping somebody gets hurt so I can get at-bats. For me, I feel like I’m more prepared and ready for a full season than I was last year. So why shouldn’t I play more than I did last year? Whether it’s here or somewhere else? I can’t control that.
“I have to separate some things. I think there’s the baseball aspect of it and I think there’s (a) real life aspect of it and I’m very comfortable with where I am in my real life. You know what I mean? I feel I’m in a tremendously privileged situation. No one needs to feel sorry for me in life. Is my baseball situation not ideal? Yeah, it’s not ideal. I don’t want to diminish the baseball fact. But you never know what can happen. When I left the Marlins I was disappointed and (Boston) turned into a really good transition for me. So we’ll see.”
It’s amazing that Lowell has this in better perspective than many fans and people in the media. If he is in any way angry with the Red Sox, he didn’t show it. He has been around baseball long enough to understand that teams make decisions and a player has only so much say about it.
“If I was on the trading block before, I can’t imagine that all of a sudden I’m not now. I think my health is something that I obviously need to show not only to the Red Sox but every other team. If that opens a door to something else, I’ll go wherever they go or I’ll stay wherever I stay.”
Lowell met with Tito Francona and Theo Epstein, something every position player did. Lowell said there were no surprises — or talk about him playing off the bench. It’s fairly evident they plan to trade him.
“I pretty much knew where I stood,” he said.
“I’m actually excited. This might seem awkward baseball-wise but I actually enjoy being on the field and seeing all the guys I haven’t seen. I had dinner with Jacoby and Pedroia yesterday. I like that aspect.
“Have I enjoyed Boston? Of course I’ve enjoyed Boston. I’ve never said that I haven’t. There are still six weeks in the spring and things happen, whether they go your way or not. But things have pretty much gone my way my whole career. I have to look at the positive in things. I have no regrets in whatever way we go.
“I’m highly motivated to show that I can play. Where that takes me, I don’t know. I really don’t. We’ll see. There is some type of curiosity that I have that I’m anxious to see what happens.”