Mike Lowell, who was not in the starting lineup on Tuesday but hit two homers after replacing the ejected Kevin Youkilis in the second inning, admitted that he has found it "very difficult" to remain sharp while facing diminished playing time. The third baseman, who has been an everyday player throughout his career, has started in five of the Sox' 10 games since the arrival of Victor Martinez from Cleveland on Aug. 1.
Lowell has performed well despite having to check to see if his name is in the lineup, hitting .333 with a .440 OBP, 1.107 OPS, two homers and seven runs batted in this month.
"You kind of find yourself in a little bit of a groove and you kind of want to continue that day after day," said Lowell. "It is a challenge and it’s one for me that I’m unfamiliar with...You don’t feel totally in sync when you don’t play for a couple days."
While he acknowledges that he is still slowed by surgery on his right hip that took place in October, Lowell said that he feels strong physically. Given his performance at the plate, the third baseman (who has also received some starts as a designated hitter) seems puzzled and dismayed that his playing time has been irregular this month. With the arrivals of Martinez and Casey Kotchman at the trade deadline, the Sox have had six players (Lowell, Youkilis, Martinez, Kotchman, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek) splitting at-bats at four positions: first base, third base, catcher and designated hitter. Lowell made clear that, based on his performance, he feels that he deserves more playing time.
"It at least feels good that I’m swinging a good bat. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want good bats in your lineup," said Lowell. "When you’re swinging the bat well, I think you want to play every day. I stand by that."
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