Mike Lowell Continues to Contribute While Playing Through Rib Fracture

If this is indeed the last month of Mike Lowell's playing career, as he has hinted it might be, he will be playing it in pain.

Lowell has been playing with a non-displaced fracture in his ribs since a collision with Toronto infielder John McDonald on Aug. 20. He had a CT scan and an MRI on Friday and was cleared to continue playing.

The 36-year-old, who has played the bulk of the games at first base since Kevin Youkilis was lost for the season, can continue as long as the pain is tolerable.

"It bothers me when I'm sleeping and it bothers me when I get fooled swinging, so don't get fooled," Lowell said in between games of a doubleheader Saturday at Fenway Park.

Lowell has been able to fight through the issue rather well so far. Entering Saturday night's game he had a five-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 7-for-20 (.350).

Team doctors assured Lowell that playing will not make the injury any worse. He will press on provided the soreness does not alter his routine.

"If it gets to the point where I have to do something different at the plate or different in the field I think it's time to take a step back," he said.

Lowell missed 34 games earlier this year with a strain in his surgically repaired right hip. He said the rib injury is much less of an inconvenience than any issues he has had with his hip.

The 2007 World Series MVP is hitting .241 with four home runs in 58 games this year.

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