January 30, 2009

Mike Lowell out of Baseball Classic

Off-season hip surgery will prevent Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell from playing for his native Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic in March.

Lowell's right hip led to a pain-filled second half last season and Boston did not put him on its postseason roster.

Lowell, 34, underwent surgery on Oct. 20, the day after Boston was beaten by the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

Despite perceived limitations, he was included on Puerto Rico's provisional roster when it was released last week. Teams can request that players coming off surgery or significant injury be held out of the World Baseball Classic.

Lowell's recovery is said to be going well and the Red Sox are optimistic he will make a strong comeback in the 2009 season.

He also missed the event in 2006 after the worst season in his 13-year major league career, when he batted just .236 with eight home runs and 58 RBI for the Florida Marlins.