|The Sox unveiled a statue, inspired by a David Halberstam book, of “The Teammates’’ — Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio — outside Fenway Park. Attending were Pesky, DiMaggio’s widow Emily, and Doerr. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)|
Lowell a real nowhere man
He isn’t playing — or complaining
CLEVELAND — Mike Lowell knows there’s nothing he can do. He has known that since the offseason, when it became apparent there was no place for him on the Red Sox. Yet even as his playing time has dwindled to next to nothing, Lowell has put in time fielding grounders, taking batting practice, and most often just sitting on the bench.
At least one of his teammates, former Angel John Lackey, has taken to good-natured clubhouse banter that demonstrates how little Lowell has seen the field.
“Lackey’s getting all over me,’’ said Lowell, “saying, ‘Tell Sosh [Angels manager Mike Scioscia] I say hi,’ all that stuff.’’
The Angels are lacking a true first baseman since Kendry Morales fractured his leg in celebration of a walkoff home run. Los Angeles could be where Lowell finds a home, instead of languishing on the Boston bench.
“I thought about it a little with the Angels,’’ Lowell said. “I don’t know what the thought process is of other teams. I don’t know what they have in the minor leagues. [Jeff] Mathis is coming back, they’re going to have three catchers, maybe they want to keep them all on the roster. There are a lot of dynamics I’m probably not aware of.
“If the team tried to move me in the offseason, I don’t think they’re saying [now], ‘Mike’s an untouchable.’ I think we’re well past that one.
“It’s human nature to see, is this team a fit, is this not a fit? Now, what you can do about it? You really can’t do anything about it, unless they want to do it.’’
Since May 22, Lowell has played just twice. That’s two games in 2 1/2 weeks, not what he is used to when healthy. Asked how he’s handling the situation, Lowell said, “Day by day. That’s all you can do.’’
It’s clear the Sox don’t need Lowell. They could use a backup middle infielder, with Bill Hall their only option behind Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia, which makes it risky when Hall plays the outfield and then leaves the game for a pinch hitter.
Asked if it’s hard to find playing time for Lowell of late, manager Terry Francona said, “We’ve got a third baseman that’s hitting everything in sight, first baseman might be one of the best hitters in the game, and our DH has had a month that was unparalleled, so I guess the answer would be yes.
“Our object is to win. Sometimes it’s hard. I agree, Mikey hasn’t played a lot lately. I certainly understand that. But we’ve played good baseball. That’s got to be our first objective.
“I think he understands it. I don’t think he probably likes the idea of his playing time . . . but the object is to win.’’
That’s clear to Lowell. It just doesn’t make him happy, not when he believes he’s capable of starting.
“It’s very hard for me to play health-wise the way I did last year on the condition knowing that this year was going to be so much better, and it is, and now there’s no playing time,’’ said Lowell. “The numbers don’t match up for me. So I think that’s the catch I’m in.
“I don’t believe that anyone’s owed anything in this game. I think this is a numbers game. You either produce or you don’t.’’
Which leads him to question what opportunities there may be for him next year, even though he has talked about retiring.
“What happens next year? Minor league invite? Are you kidding me?’’ he said. “That’s what I don’t look forward to.’’
That’s the future, though. Right now, he has a seemingly permanent seat on the bench, with Adrian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz all producing.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.