BOSTON -- Mike Lowell took batting practice for the first time since injuring his right oblique in August on Monday before the Red Sox took on the Orioles at Fenway Park, and he spoke thoroughly optimistic about his performance minutes afterwards.
"I thought it went great," Lowell said. "No pain. I was kind of curious -- I think you take a little more of a violent swing outside than you do in the cage."
Lowell landed on the disabled list on Aug. 13 with a strained left oblique muscle and has missed Boston's past 17 contests. He's spent time hitting off a tee and taking soft toss over the last week, making the necessary steps toward taking cuts on the field -- a significant step toward his return.
He took about 35 swings inside on Monday -- half soft toss, half tee work -- before taking about 35 cuts outside during batting practice. Lowell said the workout was about 10 more swings than he normally takes before a game, and he's confident his return could be soon.
"I hope the Texas series [starting this weekend] is a legit possibility," he said. "I know they'd like to see me hit outside more than once."
That's the key, Lowell pressed. If his oblique feels OK after multiple days taking batting practice, that's when he'll know he's on the right track toward a return.
"[I need to] be able to do what I did more than one day," he said. "I think if I can do that tomorrow, more than one day, I'll be able to increase the number of swings each day. I really have felt nothing negative ... in all the steps."
Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP, is batting .270 with 14 homers and 67 RBIs in 101 games this season. Heading into Monday's game against the O's, the Sox are 10-6 in Lowell's absence.
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.