Lowell returns to lineup

Lowell returns to lineup

KANSAS CITY -- Fresh off some anti-inflammatory medication and an undisclosed pain-killing shot, third baseman Mike Lowell was back in the Boston lineup on Tuesday night, batting fifth.

Lowell missed Monday's game, staying back in Boston to have the shot administered to his ailing right hip. He arrived in Kansas City late Monday night.

"They said the anti-inflammatory part would feel good within the first 24 hours and then, whatever the medicine is, might take three or four days," said Lowell. "Getting out of bed, my abs didn't hurt, so I've got to believe that's a good sign. I haven't jogged or anything, but moving around feels a little better. I'm hoping that's a step in the right direction."

When J.D. Drew was moved to the leadoff spot for Monday's game, it was believed to simply be a product of Lowell being absent.

But Drew stayed up top on Tuesday, with Kevin Youkilis hitting cleanup and Jason Bay batting sixth.

In the first three games after the trade of Manny Ramirez, Lowell batted cleanup.

However, with Youkilis swinging such a hot bat, manager Terry Francona thinks it's more beneficial to have Youkilis in the middle of the lineup than second, where he had primarily hit since David Ortiz's return on July 25.

"We're trying to get this lineup as elongated as we can," Francona said. "I like right now the way Youk [is hitting]. Youk has been a pretty legitimate bat right in the middle of that order. We're just trying to, again, have some depth and some balance."

Francona continues to maintain that Jacoby Ellsbury will resurface in the leadoff spot once he emerges from the slump that has plagued him for several weeks. Once again, Ellsbury hit ninth on Tuesday.

"I don't think J.D. has any aspirations of becoming the next Rickey Henderson," said Francona. "But he's doing it, kind of for the good of our team, which I appreciate. And I actually don't want him to hit first the whole year. In the meantime, for right now, it gives us the best chance to win. That's really all it is. I'm not trying to shake him up. Just trying to have some balance and get some guys on base that, for when the middle of the order comes up, we have the most guys on base."

As for Lowell, he will do what it takes to thrive despite the nagging injury that has bothered him since the Red Sox were in St. Petersburg from June 30-July 2.

"They told me they could give me shots every six weeks. I'm not sure that I want to go that rout," Lowell said. "Maybe they've thought of some different treatment stuff, like pool stuff where you don't have the stress of weight bearing stuff. We're going to try that, especially when we get back to Boston. Just anything, to make it feel more comfortable."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.