Mike Lowell has arrived to Red Sox camp. He has no job and an injured thumb, but to just about no one's surprise, he also has a promising outlook on both his and the franchise's future.
Lowell told reporters that his hip is "10 percent" better than it was last season. However, he can't swing a bat due to his offseason thumb repair. That isn't derailing the soon-to-be 36-year-old's spirit as the fifth-year Red Sox slugger is expecting a productive spring — in Fort Myers or elsewhere.
"I don’t view this as a major challenge," Lowell told WEEI.com on Tuesday. "If I’m healthy and teams out there think I can play every day, there’s going to be a team that wants me to play. If that’s beneficial to the Red Sox, I don’t think any of this is contingent on whether it’s beneficial to me. It doesn’t matter. I have no say. But if it’s beneficial to the Red Sox, then yeah, they’d make the move. And then you’d go wherever they send you. That’s the thing. I can’t say, 'Hey, I want to leave,' or, 'Hey, I want to stay.'
"It doesn’t matter what I think or say," he added. "The only time I had that decision was after the World Series when I was a free agent. That’s the only time that I had the say. After that, you’re a product of the industry. I’m not sour about that. I’m cool with it. If you told me that I’d get traded and then they’d take away my contract, then I might have a much bigger issue with the way things are going."
No one really expected Lowell to be pulling up to the Red Sox complex this week. His named popped up in just about every hot stove trade rumor and was even shipped out to Texas for a physical — the final piece of a deal in place with the Rangers in exchange for catcher Max Ramirez.
When that deal was axed due to his thumb injury, Boston soon turned to the free-agent pool and nabbed Adrian Beltre off the market. Although everyone — including Lowell himself — was expecting it before this signing, the third baseman was officially out of the mix.
"If it wasn’t Beltre, it was going to be somebody else," he explained to WEEI. "That was going to happen no matter what. That was just a timing thing. It might have been the next day [after the Texas trade fell apart]. It might have been a month. But it was going to happen. I was ready and basically prepared for that."
But alas, Lowell is in town. The 800-pound gorilla in the room is here and happy. He's donning Red Sox red and is playing catch, stretching and running with parts of the same team he's been doing so for the past four spring trainings.
But how long will Lowell be strutting through that Fort Myers clubhouse? There have been reports that the team may work him out at first base this preseason as an option behind both Kevin Youkilils and Victor Martinez. But what are the odds that this team retains Lowell this season?
"I think there’s a way," Lowell said to WEEI. "What I want and what will happen, I don’t know that’s something that’s attainable. But anything can happen. Guys get hurt all the time. But I don’t really want my playing time based upon whether someone gets hurt. I’m not saying, 'Hey, man, I hope this guy gets hurt so I can get my at-bats.' That’s not really the way I want to go. I’m just happy that I’m healthier than I was going into last year. I’m happy about that. I think there were a million question marks last year. I think there’s much less this year. But yeah, is there a chance? Sure. I have no control over whether they trade me. They have all the control over whether they trade me or not. But is there a chance? Sure. I just don’t know in what capacity. Only time will tell."
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