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With another surgery (and the baseball season) looming, Mike Lowell at peace with decision

02.07.11 at 12:22 pm ET
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For the first time in his adult life, baseball season is starting without Mike Lowell. And he’€™s fine with that.

‘€œI don’€™t think I feel the way I wanted to, so that has been a little comforting, I guess,’€ Lowell said from his Miami-area home. ‘€œI know I’€™m going to miss playing. But I’€™ve been entertaining myself in other ways, so it’€™s been pretty good. It’€™s been a good transition so far.

‘€œI think I’m surprisingly happy. Plus, I think my hip has gone a little bit downhill.’€

If there was any doubt creeping into Lowell’€™s mind of late, they were recently turned back after making a visit to Dr. Bryan Kelly’€™s office in New York City. While visiting Kelly, the former Red Sox third baseman was advised he may have to undergo another surgery on his already surgically repaired right hip.

‘€œI went to New York last weekend, got an X-ray and they told me it has gotten progressively worse, so I got another cortisone shot and I think I might have to have a resurfacing surgery around September,’€ explained Lowell, who underwent surgery on his torn hip labrum following the 2008 season.

‘€œWithout medication or pain management I don’€™t think I can run 50 yards right now, I know I can’€™t. I don’€™t want to be taking meds to go about my day-to-day life. I feel like my quality of life is going down a little bit. I want to teach my kid how to run the bases in Little League instead of just standing there. It seems trivial but it bothers me that I can’€™t do it.’€

Lowell has been able to work out using an elliptical machine, while also diving into the world of paddle-boarding. And the doctors informed the 36-year-old that with the surgery, his hip could hold up ‘€œ15-plus years,’€ with the arthritic part of the hip healing instantly. (‘€œThat,’€ he said, ‘€œsounds exciting to me.’€)

Yet, he still understands that a hip replacement is most likely inevitable, and that the planned operation wouldn’€™t exactly put him in position to play again.
Still, there are other priorities for Lowell these days and stepping on a baseball field ‘€“ unless it’€™s his children’€™s Little League diamond ‘€“ isn’€™t one of them.

And as far as how 2010 shook out, despite the struggles with his health, there were no regrets.

‘€œI got through artificially with anti-inflammatories and pain medication,’€ he said. ‘€œI don’€™t know if that was the greatest thing for the hip, but I don’€™t regret doing it.

‘€œBut I’€™m excited to take my kids to a baseball game and instead of them watching me I want to tell them what’€™s going on so they can learn the strategy of what’€™s going on.’€

According to Lowell, who has had offers from multiple national media outlets to serve as a baseball analyst, it is a progression that was put in motion well before he experienced problems with his hip.

He explained that when negotiating his contract following the ‘€™07 season, he turned down a four-year offer from the Phillies for more reasons than just wanting to stay with the Red Sox. Retirement was already on Lowell’€™s mind.

‘€œI think everybody’€™s decision comes at different times,’€ he said. ‘€œFor me, my decision started about three years ago when I looked ahead and saw what ages my kids would be and what would bring me the most satisfaction as a person. I think circumstances made it easier to make the decision when I did. I’€™m still just as comfortable as the way I went out as when I mentioned throughout the season. If anything I had a chance to have a nice ceremony on the day of a game I ended up playing in. For me, that meant a lot.

‘€œI told my agent after ‘€™07 not to go crazy going for the four-year deal even though everybody would prefer it because I’€™m not sure I’€™m going to play after three. The money was there already. I wasn’€™t stressed about that. It was definitely in my thoughts. I really didn’€™t know how the year was going to pan out. Let’€™s say I went and had a great year [in '€˜10], I still think I would have retired. I don’€™t think the numbers would have determined. I think the point in my life would have determined it.’€

Read More: hip surgery, mike lowell, Retirement,
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