|Lowell: I don’t think you can be anything but hurt||02.17.09 at 11:24 am ET|
Mike Lowell just held court in his introductory media session, addressing the health of his hip (sufficient to leave Lowell confident that he’ll be ready for Opening Day), an offseason spent wondering whether he would be traded to make room for Mark Teixeira (not fun), the shape of the Red Sox offense (more solid than assumed) and the admission by Alex Rodriguez that he used a performance-enhancing drug (another dark cloud on the game). Here are some highlights, with more to come:
How are you feeling?
I feel very excited to be here. I’m kind of tired of being in a therapy room. I want to be out on a baseball field. But other than that,
I’ve been hitting for about three weeks. I’ve been throwing for a while. I’m not worried from that standpoint. Later today, I’m going to be meeting with the docs and trainers to kind of map out what I’ll be doing. We’re going to go through kind of the progression of what they want me doing.
Are you confident you’ll be ready for Opening Day?
I’m very confident. If we map out the right gameplan with the intention of being in games before that, I think it’s doable. I think the last obstacle I have to get over is to run. It’s a good thing we’re not basketball players. It’s not like Ihave to be consistently running all the time. But I think that I have to be at the level I want to be in all aspects of the game. I think (running) is the last step.
What was it like following the pursuit of Teixeira?
I said it before, I don’t think you can be anything but hurt. Looking back at the offseason prior, when you have a lot of options—at least I did—I had I’d say four legitimate options, and years and dollars all taken into account, I think I let go of some of that because of how much I enjoyed being in Boston. And then I think it’s only normal to feel let down a little bit, because (Kevin Youkilis) was not going to be traded. The scenario was going to play out in a certain way if that happened.
As much as the player wants to believe that this is the game, you get reminders all throughout your career that this isn’t a game, that it’s a business. From the player’s standpoint, it’s still a game for me and the 25 guys who take the field. But it’s still a business on the other side.
How do you compare Teixeira’s impact to your own?
If you compare his numbers to mine, he’s a superior offensive player. You can use the argument where you want to look at long term. But it’s the equivalent for me of, if we signed Jason Varitek to a four-year deal four years ago, after year one, do you try to get McCann from Atlanta just because he’s younger? I don’t have a problem with them going after Mark Teixeira, but not after one of your guys, you pledged three years to him. That’s where the two-way street has to go. That’s why I say that it’s a business. If they want you, they want you.
Will you be affected on the field by these feelings?
No, because I play this game because I enjoy it, and I play it because I like being with the guys on the field, and I think we have a great chance to get to the postseason and win a World Series. I still love the city of Boston. I think our fan base is unbelievable. That’s something that I embrace a lot because I don’t think we had any of that with the Marlins even when we were successful. It doesn’t change any of that, how I feel towards the game or how I prepare myself. It’s just little signs of a wakeup call that, you know, it’s a business, and the fans might take it as a game and the players might take it as a game, but it’s not always that.
What do you think about the notion that the team is relying on you to be healthy?
I’m relying on me, too. I don’t feel any pressure from that standpoint. I want to be ready as soon as possible. But I feel like, if I’m healthy, I’ll be able to put up numbers. I’m not worried about that.
Did the organization keep you in the loop?
No. I don’t think they need to, either. My agent and a couple of reputable sources basically told me where they thought negotiations were at. I wasn’t online everyday. I figured if it was going to happen, it was going to happen. I’m not sweating it. I just envisioned a very awkward scene with me and (Kevin Youkilis) taking ground balls (at third).
Did it change how you feel about the organization?
My emotional attachment to the guys on the team never changed. They didn’t have anything to do with whether I’m traded or we signed a certain person or not. Those are the guys I see every day. That doesn’t change at all. I don’t see upper management every day. They are the businessmen. We are the baseball players.
What has the recovery process been like? Will you be pain free?
Dr. (Thomas) Gill told me this morning that it might not be a year until I feel perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play the whole year at a high level. I feel 10 times better than I did basically the last two months of the season. But during the rehab process, you get to a point where through stretching or exercises, you’ve got to break up a little scar tissue and all that. That doesn’t feel that great. There was some way that you go through. But maybe you take one step back to take two more forward. It was nowhere near the pain I felt during the year last year. I don’t think anything has gotten close to that. As you know, I just couldn’t keep playing with it.
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