FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Slowed at the start of spring training after having thumb surgery in December, Boston Red Sox infielder Mike Lowell is trying to make up for missed time.
In two Class A games at Boston’s player development complex Thursday, Lowell was able to get five plate appearances, more than doubling the four he’s had in Grapefruit League games this spring.
With the Red Sox playing the Pirates in Bradenton, Lowell stayed behind to get in the extra work. Serving as the designated hitter, bouncing between games on adjacent fields, he had two hits, a two-run homer, three RBI, a walk and a strikeout in his five plate appearances.
Lowell dispelled any notion that it might be easy to miss preparation time in spring training and still be able to hit consistently.
“Things still feel kind of quick, to be honest with you,” Lowell said. “It’s just my third day seeing live pitching. But I think it comes quick. I felt a little better each at-bat.”
In his first at-bat Thursday, he struck out swinging, followed by a walk, a fly out to deep center, a single to short center, and the home run.
Lowell said he would like to have 25 at-bats with positive results this spring before he is comfortable at the plate. He was held out of games until March 15.
He is also getting acclimated to a new position, being displaced as his customary third base when the Red Sox acquired free agent Adrian Beltre in January.
Lowell hadn’t played first base since 1998 while with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, appearing in just four games at the position. He has played first base in two Grapefruit League games this spring but is expected to return to third base Sunday.
He’s comfortable at first, but has been having a recurring dream.
“The responsibilities race through my mind,” Lowell said. “I had a recurring dream that I wouldn’t cover first on a groundball. So, I’m always ‘Cover first, cover first, cover first.’ But it’s the little things, like backing up the throw on a sure double, on a possible triple being the trail guy. Those are the things that I’m not used to. So, I think my responsibilities have gone through my head a lot.”
Running and testing the right hip on which he had surgery in October 2008 to repair a torn labrum is still his biggest challenge. But, overall, he has felt good in his outings this spring.
And he wants to be ready — just in case.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “But this is a very relaxed (setting), play two innings, move around. … But I think it’s still my job to be ready because you never know what’s going to happen. You just don’t. So I don’t want to be in a position where I’m just going to sulk because you never know. Crazy things happen.”