FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite the fact the Rangers will again have a scout in attendance to watch Mike Lowell at the Red Sox' spring training game against the Orioles in Sarasota Wednesday, sources familiar with the situation indicate that any interest Texas may have in acquiring Lowell is tempered by their reluctance to allocate any substantial amount of money to a player who would be filling a reserve role.
Whereas Texas viewed it worth the $3 million and a young player (Max Ramirez) to occupy a designated hitter/first base spot on its roster before the Sox' infielder failed the Rangers' physical, the acquisition of Vladimir Guerrero negated that dynamic. What would be left for Lowell if acquired by the Rangers is a back-up role, which would include insurance/mentoring for young first baseman Chris Davis, leading to the Rangers to ask the Red Sox to potentially pick up almost all of the 36-year-old's $12.5 million this season. According to a source, despite their hesitations, the Rangers still have more interest in Lowell than any of the other 28 teams.
There is also still a desire among teams to get a better look at Lowell, who only has 13 spring training at-bats. One scout said that while he was encouraged by watching Lowell go the other way for two hits Monday (all 3 of his hits have been to right field), there is a desire to see him start turning on and driving balls. The scout also hoped to get a better gauge of Lowell's effectiveness playing third base, where he has had limited chances thus far in the spring.
Prior to the Red Sox' game with Tampa Bay Tuesday, Red Sox manager Terry Francona hinted that Lowell wouldn't begin the season on the disabled list, a possibility the infielder talked about Monday.
“I don’t know what they think are quality at-bats. Maybe yes, maybe no. I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what they feel is adequate or not. It’s the organization’s call, not mine,” Lowell said. “To go to Boston to not play? Same thing, right? If I go it’s not like I’m going to play right away and if I don’t go it’s not like I’m not going to play right away. I’m not playing either way, so it’s all up to them.”
The Rangers did also show interest in Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie before he contracted mononucleosis, and Texas acquired Andres Blanco from the Cubs to become its utility infielder.
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