Red Sox Notebook

Lowrie may be out for year

If surgery needed, SS will be shelved

By Adam Kilgore
Globe Staff / April 18, 2009
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Shortstop Jed Lowrie will visit a specialist in Arizona in the coming days to determine the best course of action for his left wrist fracture. That could mean season-ending surgery, Lowrie said yesterday. He consulted last night with Thomas Gill, the Red Sox' physician.

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

Lowrie is staying optimistic. He has been throwing and running, trying to keep in shape in case 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 last May. He played the remainder of the season with pain in his left wrist, which sapped his hitting ability, particularly from the left side. The injury was treated with a cortisone shot and rest, and his wrist improved from 55 to 90 percent strength by spring training. "I expected it to be fine," Lowrie said.

And it was for most of spring training, during which he was perhaps the Sox' best hitter. But after the Sox played the New York Yankees in Tampa March 24, "kind of a dull pain came on," Lowrie said. He thought he could play through the ailment and didn't reveal he was hurting.

Lowrie started the season 1 for 18, and the pain worsened, the symptoms identical to last year. He remained hush about the injury with the team and media until Sunday, when he informed manager Terry Francona. The next day, the Sox placed Lowrie on the 15-day disabled list. He 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 year - getting in good counts, getting good pitches to hit, and then fouling them off. To me, that tells me I need to get this fixed."

Lowrie had a cortisone shot in two places in his wrist, as opposed to only one spot at the end of last year. If he can avoid surgery, he will likely be able to return in three to four weeks.

Masterson gets nod
Justin Masterson will start Monday in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka, whom the Sox placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Masterson started the season in the bullpen, but the Red Sox treated him like a starter in spring training. Masterson threw 60 pitches (42 strikes) in four innings Tuesday in Oakland, which helped stretch him out for a start. Francona said the decision was easy, but another candidate emerged. Masterson said Tim Wakefield, who threw a four-hit complete game Wednesday, offered to start on four days' rest. Wakefield will start Tuesday.

"[Francona] came to me to make sure," Masterson said. " 'Are you good for that spot?' I said, 'Yeah. I feel good. I feel like I can do it.' He said, 'OK.' I appreciated that he took the time to even say something."

Masterson has toggled between starting and relieving for much of his career.

Still waiting
The Sox had not received word from the Major League Baseball office yesterday on Josh Beckett's appeal of his six-game suspension for the throw that sailed by Bobby Abreu's head Sunday in Anaheim. Beckett will make his start today as scheduled, Francona said . . . The Red Sox kept Hunter Jones, who joined the team in Oakland after Wednesday's game ended, in the bullpen for last night, at least. . . . Shortstop Julio Lugo (knee) played three innings in an extended spring training game, and outfielder Mark Kotsay (back) had two at-bats as a designated hitter. Lugo received five plate appearances, Francona said, and he was able to score on an extra-base hit without issue . . . John Smoltz is scheduled to throw live batting practice for the first time tomorrow in Fort Myers, Fla. . . . The Red Sox honored Pumpsie Green last night on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the team's color barrier in 1959. Green threw out the first pitch. The Red Sox also recognized four Jackie Robinson scholars.

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