Monday, October 6, 2008

Lowell out tonight; rest of season in doubt

Mike Lowell is not in tonight's starting lineup -- Kevin Youkilis will play third base, and Mark Kotsay will play first base and hit seventh in the lineup. Lowell was really sore last night and is again today, manager Terry Francona said during a pregame meeting with the media, and there's a chance he might not return for a possible Game 5 or any ensuing playoff series.

"The trainers checked on him this morning, and we knew he was sore," Francona said. "He came in; he was pretty beat up. He's not in the lineup tonight. Where it goes from here, we don't know yet. He needs to be seen by the doctors. I think he's a little frustrated.

"Nobody questions his toughness -- I mean, nobody. It's just getting difficult for him to be a baseball player right now. He can't move."

Lowell went 0-for-4 on Sunday and looked almost stationary at third base, both as a result of the torn labrum in his hip through which he's been playing since mid-September. He eventually was lifted for a pinch-runner in the 10th inning with the bases loaded; Francona said he would have made the same move earlier in the game if a similar situation had arisen.

"I didn't think it was fair to have him in a position where if somebody hits a ground ball in the hole and we're going to score a run, he can't run to second and he's halfway there and they get an out they shouldn't," Francona said. "I can't let that happen. ...

"He wasn't on base (early in the game), and when he did get on base, we got him out. ... You have to know each guy, and he doesn't want a conversation. But if he needs to come out of a game, I'll know, either from the trainers or watching him. If he'd have been on base in the seventh or eighth, we'd have got him out. He's a smart guy. He can still play third at a pretty high quality being hurt. But when it comes to a point when he can't play, we'll try to get him out."

It's not at the point where the Red Sox would replace him on the postseason roster right now; that would disqualify him not only from Game 5 but from the American League Championship Series. If he was so hurt the team knew he'd no longer be able to play, that's a move they'd make. So far, though, it's not at that point.

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