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Injury returns, clouding Lowell's status

Injury returns, clouding Lowell's status

BOSTON -- The return of Mike Lowell lasted just one painful at-bat on Friday night, and now there is legitimate reason to wonder if the Red Sox's invaluable third baseman will be healthy enough to play any kind of role in the American League Division Series against the Angels, which starts on Wednesday at Anaheim.

Lowell, who has a partial tear of the labrum in his right hip, had rested the injury for nine days. He served as the designated hitter on Friday and felt pain while striding toward a pitch at which he didn't swing. When Lowell flied out to left, he limped noticeably out of the box, then came out of the game.

"I don't know what the solution is from here," said Lowell. "We'll give it one more try before the postseason, but I think saying I'm a little disappointed is a major understatement. So we'll see."

Concern, yes. But Lowell is not ready to give up.

"I'm not ruling out anything yet, but obviously, I'm really disappointed today," said Lowell. "It's frustrating. We don't have too much time to play with. I don't know what steps the organization is going to feel comfortable with. Like I said, I don't want to be a liability for the team, either, so we'll see. Like they said, maybe we'll come up with something."

The injury manifests itself most when Lowell is forced to make side-to-side movement.

"On those pitches where if it's a strike you're going to swing but if it's a ball you're going to lay off, as I start rotating my hips, it just catches right there and that's a sharp pain that I try to avoid," said Lowell. "I'll tolerate the pain if it's sharp, but it's just the aftereffect that I get swollen up. It limits me running."

Lowell cringed when he saw how he looked coming out of the box on Friday night.

"I thought I was moving pretty good, but I saw the video and I looked like a 90-year-old man who just got shot," Lowell said. "That didn't do anything to help me out. But we'll see how I react tomorrow and see what the docs say. He's not giving up, so I'm not giving up. We'll see."

The last setback -- which occurred on Sept. 16 in St. Petersburg -- was on a do-or-die fielding play. Lowell said that the pain wasn't quite as severe this time.

"I'd say I told the trainers that if Tampa was 100, this was 81," said Lowell. "Maybe 81."

The fact is, the Red Sox don't have to make a decision on their Division Series roster until Wednesday, which buys Lowell a little more time.

"He's certainly not ready to pull the plug or quit trying to play, so we're on board with him trying," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "The plan was to play him at third base on Sunday. I don't think that's going to happen. We'll work our way the next two days here, and then we'll see how it goes. We'll just monitor as we go and do the best we can and see what happens."

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

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