Extra Bases

Lowell staying put — for now

The Rangers claimed first baseman Ryan Garko off waivers from Seattle earlier today, effectively ending any interest they may have had in trading for Mike Lowell — at least for now.

Barring an unexpected development, Lowell will start the season as a reserve with the Red Sox.

“There hasn’t been much trade activity, if at all, with him this spring,” Theo Epstein said.

Lowell isn’t thrilled with the the thought of coming off the bench for the first time in his career. But Epstein tried to put a positive spin on the idea.

“He’s swinging the bat well of late, looking healthier every day and I anticipate him being an important bench guy for us,” he said. “No one wishes injury on anyone, but strange things happen in this game and it’s a good feeling to have him be able to step in if needed.”

Lowell has played 16 innings at first base this spring and handled the position well, giving Terry Francona another avenue to find him at-bats.

Good luck to Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz. Fans, columnists and radio guys will be calling for Lowell at the first sign of a slump from either of them. Francona is going to have to be at his diplomatic best handling this situation.

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