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It's Hip to be Mike Lowell.

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Capt

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Here, Papi congratulates Mike Lowell for not breaking his hip while hitting a first-inning HR last night.

We now know more about Mike Lowell's hip injury. He has a partially torn labrum in his hip, and has been receiving cortisone shots for the pain. A la Big Papi and his wrist, he insists that it has more to do with discomfort than actual pain. Either way, our third baseman is not and will not be 100% for the duration of the Red Sox's season. He will have surgery after the playoffs.

And sub-100% Lowell is still clearly the best option for defense at 3B, with Lowrie and Youks being his backups. As a hitter, however, I think we need to be putting more consideration (yet again) into moving Jason Bay up in the lineup. Would definitely prefer a healthy Bay over Lowell to provide Youks with some protection of his own. IF everyone gets healthy at some point, my ideal playoff lineup would be:

DP

Lowrie

Papi

Youks

Bay

Drew

Lowell

Tek

Coco

As well as Coco has been doing, I still don't trust him as a leadoff hitter. Flipping Lowrie and DP is an option as well, if DP is that much more comfortable in the #2 spot. We need to take the pressure off of Lowell while he's injured, and sub liberally (not with Kevin Cash) when the Sox have a decent lead. 

Lowell is perfectly capable of making a joke about himself, Sox fans.

"With any muscle or ligament, something can happen, but I don't think I run that fast to get to that point. I guess you can find comfort in that." -Mike Lowell

You are crazy-slow Mike Lowell, especially for seeming to be in good shape. 

...

This is a bit of an older story, but one we haven't discussed yet here. Julio Lugo expects to return this season, and he expects to return as "the" SS. Almost a week after this story came out, and I haven't seen any real updates lately. I cannot imagine the Sox replacing Lowrie with Lugo at this point, with as well as Lowrie has done both offensively and defensively. Next season is another question entirely, and one not to be addressed right now.

All right. I'm going to envision the few reasons why Lugo might start over Jed Lowrie.

1. Superior range. Despite what statistics say, the eyes will certainly tell you that Lugo covers more ground when healthy. 

2. Speed. Lowrie is an adequate baserunner, one whom I haven't seen make any mistakes out there. On the flip side, he's not exactly a burner, while Lugo's speed is an asset. 

3. Arm strength. Lugo's arm is erratic, but he has the capability to get the ball to Youks quickly on groundballs hit by speedy baserunners. 

Those are three good reasons, though Lowrie has a multitude of reasons behind him remaining the starter, up to and including steadier hands, better approach at the plate, better hitter, more power, etc. Also, Lugo has been having problems with running, potentially negating his advantage over Lowrie in #'s 1 and 2. So, basically/potentially, the only advantage Lugo has over Lowrie is arm strength. We can only hope the Sox have done as good an amateur analysis as I've just done. Keep Lowrie as the starter. If Lugo comes back and is willing to PR and sub around the IF, then let him. Otherwise, well. I said I wouldn't discuss that.