Lowell receives injection in ailing hip
Third baseman has fluid drained; Sox now in waiting mode
BALTIMORE -- The key words when it comes to Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell's ailing right hip are "waiting mode."
Lowell, who had just one at-bat during the three-game series in Atlanta due to soreness in the hip, returned to Boston following the club's Sunday afternoon game. Lowell visited the team doctor Monday morning and received an injection of Synvisc as well as having 15 cc of fluid drained from the hip.
Synvisc is a gel that coats the joint and has been proven to be helpful to some who suffer from the same problem as Lowell, including Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills.
Lowell, 35, remains in Boston to undergo some therapy on Tuesday and is not expected to rejoin the club until the Red Sox return home following their three-game series in Baltimore.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke to Lowell on Monday afternoon and was especially encouraged by the fluid removal.
"I think for a hip, that's really extensive, and so I think it's really going to help," Francona said of Lowell, who had undergone surgery for a torn labrum in the hip last October.
In his past 26 games dating back to May 24, Lowell was hitting .283 with 12 RBIs and was batting .282 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs this season, including winning American League Player of the Week honors in April.
For now, though, Lowell's immediate future is unclear. A trip to the disabled list remains a possibility, but is by no means a certainty.
"Worst-case scenario is he goes on the DL just to buy us a couple of weeks where he can get a second wind for the second part of the season," said Francona. "But right now, we have the ability to wait a couple of days. We're just in a waiting mode."
In Lowell's absence, first baseman Kevin Youkilis has been seeing time at third base, which was his original position in pro ball. Francona admitted that having that option has been a huge luxury.
"You can put him over there any time you want, and I don't know how many guys in the league could do that," Francona said of Youkilis, who will be making his 11th start at third base Monday night, with Mark Kotsay getting the nod at first. "I mean, there are guys who could go over there, but not play the quality third base he does. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it makes us a better team."
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.