Lowell to begin rehab stint Thursday

Lowell to begin rehab stint Thursday

BOSTON -- Red Sox corner infielder/DH Mike Lowell is ready to start ramping up toward a return to action. That process will start when Lowell flies to New York on Monday to get a cortisone shot from his hip specialist, Dr. Brian Kelly.

The shots that Lowell gets in his surgically repaired right hip are mainly for maintenance purposes, and to clean out the joint. He last had one during Spring Training

Lowell will start a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday.

"I'm actually looking forward to maybe playing three days in a row. I don't think I've done that in forever," said Lowell. "I don't know if it's three in a row, but getting consistent at-bats. I don't mind that at all. After that, we'll see. I think after four days, we're pretty much starting over. So nine [at-bats] or 19 or 29 doesn't really make a big difference to me."

The right-handed-hitting veteran has been used sparingly this season, and there is still speculation that Lowell will be moved either before or after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Rangers, who agreed to a trade with the Sox for Lowell back in December only to have it fall through because of medical complications, have recently made inquiries.

"I think there's been rumors since the Winter Meetings of last year," said Lowell. "If something happens, I don't think that changes the way I feel about my teammates or the city or the fans. Those are all positives for me. I love Miami, too. So, I don't see why it changes, or [why a trade] is always a bad thing.

"I do know I enjoy playing baseball and I'm doing that less this year than I ever have. I don't know. I've heard talks, but I've heard talks for eight months. I have no idea. I don't know the situations other teams are in, whether it's a need or what, I don't really care to know either. I think you'll drive yourself crazy trying to break down every team. I just want to be in a position where I can play."

Though speculation always runs rampant at this time of year, Lowell knows full well a move could easily happen in August if not before then.

"I don't think I'm a [July] 31st guy," said Lowell. "I'm going to clear waivers in two seconds. That's not a fear for me. I don't think I have a deadline of that. If anything, if I'm someone who might be considered along with other people and the other people might have deadlines, so it might screw up something for me. But me personally, I don't think there's an urgency for the 31st from another team's standpoint. But it's very low on my priority list to be honest with you."

Back in April, Lowell said that he was leaning toward retirement after the 2010 season. Is that still the case?

"I don't really know what I'm thinking," said Lowell. "I'm thinking short-term."

Over the final week of the first half and through the All-Star break, Lowell spent some time in Miami with his wife and kids.

"I was rehabbing a lot. I rested a lot. I went to the gym. I threw a couple of times," said Lowell. "I didn't hit. I didn't really see a need to because I knew I was probably going to go on a rehab assignment anyways, and I was going to have a chance. It was a great little mental break.

"I got to enjoy my family a lot. It gave me a glimpse of what retirement is all about. Honestly, that's a chapter of my life I'm actually looking forward to. When it is, I don't know. But I don't fear it. I don't view that as a negative, either."

Lowell joked that he will use modern technology to keep the media posted on his offseason plans.

"I'll keep you guys posted," Lowell said. "I'll tweet it [or] whatever you guys do."

Lowell is the first to acknowledge there's not much of a fit for him on Boston's roster -- even with the recent barrage of injuries.

"Third, first and DH are our healthy positions," said Lowell.

His DL move was as much to give the Red Sox some roster flexibility as it was to rest his hip. But he thinks the break wound up being productive.

"I think the time off was really good," said Lowell. "I feel a lot better moving around. I think the cortisone will just kind of take me over that hump. I don't really have much to lose. And the doc told me it was all right. Enough time had gone by in between shots. I'm looking forward to it, I actually am. I feel good hitting and moving around, so I don't view it as a negative."