Lowell’s thumb the holdup
The trade of Mike Lowell to Texas, agreed to on Wednesday, has yet to be made official as the Rangers delve into the health of the third baseman.
Texas is further examining the condition of Lowell’s right thumb, an injury that hampered him near the end of last season. According to major league sources, the Rangers are satisfied with the status of Lowell’s surgically repaired right hip.
“There are still things to go over,’’ Red Sox assistant general manager Ben Cherington said yesterday. “It would not be a complete surprise if it didn’t happen.’’
The Red Sox would get catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez in return for Lowell. The Sox also agreed to give Texas $9 million toward the $12 million Lowell has remaining on his contract. Commissioner Bud Selig must approve that aspect of the transaction. As of yesterday, that paperwork had not reached his desk. Red Sox manager Terry Francona has yet to speak to Lowell about the deal, preferring to wait until it’s official.
“It’s hard, I can’t really comment on it because it hasn’t gone through,’’ Francona said. “I just can’t. If something happens, I’ll call him.’’
The team did make offers to righthanders Fernando Cabrera, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon S. Ramirez, and Jonathan Papelbon along with lefthander Hideki Okajima, outfielder Jeremy Hermida, and first baseman Casey Kotchman.
In most of the cases, a deal will be reached before arbitration hearings in February.
“It’s hard not to,’’ he said. “Fans, they want their team now and I probably fall under that a little bit, too. But from watching the front office do their stuff, you can make mistakes if you act too fast. You have to be patient. You have to let it follow its course.
“I know we have enough faith in the guys who run the team. When we get to spring training we’ll have a team we like a lot.’’
Francona marveled at the enthusiasm of fans turning out on a cold day.
“I’m fortunate,’’ he said. “I haven’t managed a game here that wasn’t sold out. Think about that. It’s incredible. Very appreciative, those are the right words. I know our owners don’t take it for granted.’’
“I need to start building up,’’ he said. “But at the same, make sure I give it enough time. I need to strike that balance. I’ll have to be more in tune with my wrist. If it feels good, I’ll take a few more swings. If not, I’ll back off. I started playing seven weeks after surgery and sometimes it needs time.’’
Lowrie is planning to work with his trainer, Jason Riley, in Florida starting in mid-January. Riley is the same trainer Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has credited with helping improve his lateral movement in recent years.
“I just need to prove my wrist is healthy. I’ve never had any other injury problems. Once I get this figured out, things will be looking up,’’ Lowrie said.