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Lowell on target to return after All-Star break

Lowell on target to return after All-Star break

BOSTON -- Mike Lowell took another step toward a post-All-Star break return on Thursday afternoon, participating in a range of baseball activities at Fenway Park.

The third baseman, placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 30 with a strain in his surgically repaired right hip, is scheduled for daily workouts through Sunday. He is eligible to be activated next Friday, when Boston opens a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

On June 29, Lowell received an injection of Synvisc, a gel that coats the joint, as well as having 15 cc of fluid drained from the hip.

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Manager Terry Francona said on Thursday that the team will re-evaluate Lowell's progress on Sunday to determine whether the 35-year-old would be ready to rejoin the Sox after the break.

"We'll put our heads together before we leave and try to figure out where he's at," Francona said. "The last couple of days, he's gotten a lot more confident, and that's what we want. We'll keep monitoring him."

Thursday's workout included soft tossing, tee work and taking ground balls at third. Lowell reported no issues during a pregame session with the media, expressing optimism that his hip will continue to improve as the week progresses.

"Today was great, so I'm really happy," Lowell said. "The [medical staff] told me they'd be shocked if I didn't feel like everything was in sync by the end of the week. Today's Thursday, so that's a pretty good sign. They assured me it was going to get better each day, and it has."

Lowell has said on multiple occasions that his current DL stint is more of a precaution than a necessity. Though he could be playing, the fact that he doesn't have to allows the Red Sox an opportunity to rest their valued veteran.

Following offseason surgery on his troublesome right hip, Lowell caught fire at the plate in April and May, smacking a combined eight home runs to go along with 35 RBIs. His numbers saw a sharp decline in June, however, as he hit just .206 in 68 at-bats.

Despite Lowell's absence, the Sox entered Thursday's action with a one-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. Boston's ability to remain in first place during his hiatus has made the DL trip easier to stomach for Lowell.

"With the way we're playing," he said, "plus stealing four more days without missing games with the All-Star break, all those things are in my favor."

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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