Lowell shut down for a few by Red Sox
Third baseman resting hip as postseason goal draws closer
TORONTO -- Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell will rest his ailing right hip this weekend instead of participating in a three-game series at Toronto. In fact, Lowell is also likely to miss the initial part of the season's final homestand, which begins on Monday against the Indians.
The Red Sox and Lowell share a similar goal in that they want to make sure the right-handed run producer is ready to go for the most important time of the year -- the postseason.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Lowell were involved in a detailed conference call Friday with team doctors and independent specialists, as well as Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
"I think pretty much everybody concurred on what we thought, which is good in that sense," Francona said. "I think the plan of attack is we'll try to let this thing cool down, let him get on some medication, do stuff with the trainers, and then we'll try to play him enough next week where he's healthy enough to play, but also hasn't lost so much at the plate. I think everyone is pretty comfortable with how we're going to go about this. We just want him to be as healthy as he can, so we'll take the next four or five days and see if we can get him there."
Lowell, who had already been playing with a partial tear in the labrum of the hip, was in excruciating pain after being forced to make an off-balanced throw in Tuesday's game. He was unable to play on Wednesday.
But the third baseman seemed reassured that a few days of rest will get him at least back to where he was before the bang-bang throw caused the setback.
"I was actually really pleased with the conversation that we had," Lowell said. "I think, if anything, it showed that our docs and Dr. [Bryan] Kelly was the guy in New York, we're all on the same page. I think he's seen a lot of hips, since it's his specialty. He reassured me that I can't hurt it worse, which is a good sign and that what I felt Tuesday was normal, but not a worsening [factor].
"He said it's the bone spurs pinching part of the labrum, not where it should be. I'm encouraged that nothing worse can happen and we're on, I think, the right road."
With Lowell out, Francona has several options. The one he chose Friday was to start Sean Casey at first base and move Kevin Youkilis over to third. He can also play Jed Lowrie at third and have Alex Cora start at short. And there's also the option of having Mark Kotsay play first, with Youkilis at third.
Lowell hopes to start by Wednesday or Thursday against the Indians, but doesn't feel as if his postseason success depends on it.
"I think if I can get two or three games at least where I can get at-bats, that's good," said Lowell. "I came around pretty good when I didn't play for 20 games [while on the disabled list]. I have a good number of at-bats already so I'm not too concerned about my at-bats. I'm more concerned with getting this to feel comfortable than the at-bats themselves."
The conversation with Kelly also gave Lowell more comfort with the increasing inevitability that he will have to undergo surgery once the season is over.
"I wouldn't want to say for sure, but all signs are that arthroscopic [surgery] is the way to heal it," said Lowell. "I'm not opposed, obviously. When they explained to me the rehab, it wasn't as dreadful as it sounded at the beginning. I'm really not concentrating on that right now, but, yeah, it's the reality. I'm not going to shy away from that because I can't go through this physically or mentally for a whole year."
Kelly, who is on the assistant medical staff of the New York Giants, told Lowell that a professional football player needs four to six months to come back from that type of surgery.
Of course, Lowell -- who doesn't get run over by 300-pound linemen -- would likely have a much shorter rehab for returning to baseball.
But his concern at the moment is 2008, and helping the Red Sox win another World Series.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.