NEW YORK — Mike Lowell continues to be frustrated by his situation, spending most of his time sitting on the bench with the rare start and rare pinch hit. Even today, with CC Sabathia on the mound, Lowell is not in the starting lineup, with David Ortiz at DH.
“I think it’s a little unfortunate, but I think somewhat it’s painfully evident I don’t really have a role on the team,” Lowell said in the clubhouse this afternoon. “David’s swinging the bat a lot better, which I’m actually happy for. I actually think he’s still a big presence in our lineup. I don’t really care what the numbers say. He’s that guy that you still fear that he doesn’t have to make really good contact and he can still hit the ball out of the park. As a friend and as a teammate, you don’t like to see those guys struggle. You just don’t. Obviously I think there’s a catch how it affects me.
“When Jacoby [Ellsbury] and [Mike Cameron] come back I just don’t really know what my role is. With those two in the lineup I don’t know who would I hit for. When I hit I get pinch-run for. I don’t play defense. I think sometimes you feel like the team might be better off if you’re not it. I just eat up a roster spot, I really do. I don’t know. If anything it’s a good feeling that I’ve had so many teammates come up to me and they say they sympathize with my situation. I think I’ve truly agonized over it. But it’s not good or bad, it’s just reality. It’s just reality. I don’t know what else to do.”
Lowell was asked if he might formally request his release from the Sox.
“Have I given it thought? Sure,” Lowell said. “I think that’s a normal train of thought to go through. Is that something that would happen? I don’t know. I haven’t looked that deep into it. I think that’s more upper management’s decision. They’ve been willing to eat a lot of my contract so maybe that’s not holding them back. But I don’t know. Sometimes you think, yeah, if that happens would that be better? I don’t know. But I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t think the flip side is always better or always worse. I know the situation here is just … I just don’t see it being very good.”
It’s interesting that Lowell would reiterate his frustration at this juncture of the season. It’s a crucial time for the team, as they’ve been struggling significantly. They’re coming off a brutal loss to the Yankees, and the complaining about a personal situation appears to be curiously timed.
He isn’t happy that he hasn’t gotten a chance to prove what he can do, to prove that he’s healthy again with both the thumb and the hip. He certainly hasn’t had a chance to get on a roll in the lineup, as he mentioned going 4-for-4 recently and being rewarded with a seat on the bench.
But how can this be remedied?
“I don’t know what it is,” Lowell said. “I know I want to play baseball. I enjoy playing baseball. But I think that’s the element that’s a little bit out of my control. I just don’t see the role here. With David and myself are basically two roster spots that don’t play on the field. Those spots could be used in a lot of different ways. I mean, we’ve got a lot of things we got to fix here. Like I said, it’s reality.”
UPDATE: Just to clarify, Lowell was approached by reporters regarding being left out of the lineup today. So I’m not faulting him for answering questions. But he also made similar comments yesterday, before he was left out against CC Sabathia.