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09/17/08 12:30 AM ET

Lowell could miss finale vs. Rays

Veteran's right hip may have worsened on fourth-inning play

ST. PETERSBURG -- Just when Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell didn't think his ailing right hip could feel any worse, a chopper by Jason Bartlett in the bottom of the fourth inning on Tuesday night made him change his mind.

In typical Lowell fashion, he barehanded the ball and made the play. But then he winced in utter agony. Somehow, Lowell remained in the game until he was lifted for a pinch-runner in the top of the ninth.

But there's no guarantee Lowell will start on Wednesday, especially with an off-day for Boston looming on Thursday.

"I don't know, I'll talk to [manager Terry Francona]," said Lowell. "I'll see how I wake up tomorrow. If he feels like I'm hurting the team, I don't want to be on the field if I'm hurting the team. I've been able to get to the balls. It's just probably not too pretty doing it. We'll see. I'm not closing that door yet."

Lowell has been playing with the injury since July, and on Monday, he revealed that the labrum in his hip had a partial tear.

The ball Bartlett hit was about the worst thing for Lowell.

"It's the off-balanced throw," said Lowell. "All the weight goes on your off-balanced leg, I guess. It just really grabs me. Then it kind of goes away, but it burns a little. That doesn't' feel really good."

Last Thursday, Lowell had his third injection over the past couple of months. But he doesn't feel like this one was as effective as the last one.

"I figured the injection would make me feel better," said Lowell. "The second one really made me feel better. I don't think this one has gone as good. I don't really know what else to say about that one."

The pain Lowell endured in the Red Sox's 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday might have been the worst yet, with the exception of immediately after his most recent shot.

"This one feels more like the pulling of the area; I'd say this one makes me wonder more, you know?" Lowell said.

And just what can make Lowell feel better?

"I don't know," Lowell said. "A World Series championship? That would really make me feel a lot better."

Francona has no doubt that -- pain or no pain -- Lowell will continue to do everything in his power to help his team attain that quest. That is, as long as he can move.

"Pretty concerned, obviously," said Francona. "When he did it on the play at third, you saw what I saw. We all know, if he can walk, he'll play. But you guys saw what I saw. It looked like it hurt. We'll continue to monitor him. I guess the one thing we really hang our hat on is, like I said, he'll play. It's not like he's got to steal bases. I know he's got to be productive. And you don't want to see a guy look miserable, but we'll do the best we can."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.