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Surgery possible for Lowrie

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  April 17, 2009 05:10 PM

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Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie will visit a specialist in Arizona in the coming days to determine the best course of action for his return from a slight left wrist fracture, which could be season-ending surgery, Lowrie said Friday. Lowrie planned to meet with Dr. Tom Gill Saturday to have some questions answered.

The visit to Dr. Donald Sheridan will reveal the best of three options, Lowrie said. Either he will continue to press ahead and play with cortisone shots, or he'll have one of two surgeries. The first surgery would re-attach the fractured bone, and the second would remove it. Removing the bone, Lowrie said, would cost him the season.

Lowrie is staying optimistic. He has continued throwing and running, trying to keep in good shape if, as he hopes, surgery is not necessary.

"I'm hoping I go to Sheridan and he tells me what we're doing right now is what needs to be done," Lowrie said. "That would be ideal -- with rest and rehab, I'll feel good and it will be a long-term solution. The last thing I want is to go into surgery. But if it's necessary, that it will make this better and be the long-term solution, then I need to do that."

Lowrie first injured his wrist in May of last year. He played the remainder of the season with pain in his left wrist, which sapped his hitting ability, particularly from the left side of the plate. Lowrie treated the injury with a cortisone shot and rest, and his wrist improved from 55 percent to 90 percent by the time spring training arrived. "I expected it to be fine," Lowrie said.

And it was for most of spring training, during which he was perhaps the Red Sox best hitter. But after the Red Sox played the New York Yankees in Tampa March 24, "kind of a dull pain came on," he said. Lowrie thought he could push through the ailment, and he kept the injury to himself.

Lowrie started the season 1 for 18, and the pain worsened, the symptoms identical to last year. He remained quiet about the injury with the team and media until Sunday, when he informed manager Terry Francona. The next day, the Red Sox placed Lowrie on the 15-day disabled list. Lowrie believes the injury explains his slow start.

"There's no question," Lowrie said. "I'm not a guy to make excuses. I played through it last year. I know what that's like. And I was doing the exact same thing to start the year this -- getting in good counts, getting good pitches to hit, and then fouling them off. To me, that's tells me I need to get this fixed."

Lowrie had a cortisone shot in two places in his wrist, as opposed to the one spot at the end of last year. In the next couple days, he will visit Sheridan in Scottsdale, Ariz., to determine his next step.

"If the cortisone will allow me to play like I did for the three weeks in spring training to the end of the year, that might be an option," Lowrie said. "But if it's going to break down after three weeks and I'm going to have to go through this whole process again, at one point am I spinning wheels? If there's any potential for me hurting myself long term, I need to look at it and really decide that I need to take my long-term considerations.

"You know, I'm really not frustrated. It's something that needs to be done. I just don't want it to linger my whole career. I want it to be over with. I want to make the right decision, get as much information as I can, process it all, and make the right decision so I can get healthy and come back and help this team."

Lowrie has taken an aggressive, hands-on approach. He has researched the injury and educated himself about its effects.

"I see the X-rays, and it doesn't look normal to me," Lowrie said. "I'm not a doctor. But when I have symptoms that seem to go along with what the picture is showing, I want some sort of answer. It's a delicate situation."

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