Red Sox manager Terry Francona has done a lot of lineup shuffling since Adam LaRoche came aboard last Wednesday. Tito now has three very capable players to stick at first base and third base, and for the past couple of days, Mike Lowell has been the odd man out, riding the bench so LaRoche can get some playing time.
But Red Sox Nation has nothing to worry about as far as the third baseman's health is concerned; Francona insists that the only reason Lowell is ceding to LaRoche during the first game of a four-game set against Oakland on Monday is because A's starter Trevor Cahill has a habit of giving up home runs to left-handed hitters.
Cahill has surrendered 20 homers thus far in 2009, and 17 of them have been to lefties. It just makes sense, therefore, to get LaRoche's bat in the lineup and let Lowell take the night off.
Lowell did a 19-day stint on the disabled list right before the All-Star break because of discomfort stemming from offseason hip surgery, but since then he has told reporters that he feels the best he's felt since May of 2008.
A few extra days off don't mean that's changing. It just means that the Red Sox have options.