Now that David Ortiz is hitting again–going 16-for-46 (.348) with six homers in 12 games so far this month–Mike Lowell is back to being primarily a bench player for the Red Sox and told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s not happy about it.
I don’t come in for defense. I’m always pinch-run for. Your level of importance feels diminished when I feel like I can do so much more. I just don’t know if the place where I can do so much more is here. The good news is that I can’t control that, but the bad thing is not being able to control the frustration.
The fact we’re not playing well adds to the frustration. If we had the best record in the big leagues, it makes things a little better because there’s a good vibe about the way we’re playing. There are good things. We’re not playing that well. It’s not just one thing. I think if my hip was bothering me all the time I think I would be frustrated, but there would be justification in me not playing.
The situation that is frustrating to me is that I think everybody wanted to see if I was healthier than last year, and I’ve got to believe that’s pretty apparent, and I don’t think my numbers merit not doing anything. The fact I feel good and I have instances where I have had good games and you can’t follow it up and you can’t get hot for two or three weeks, it can only add to your frustration.
This offseason Lowell was on the verge of being traded to Texas, where he’d have been an everyday player, but thumb surgery nixed that move and now the Rangers don’t have any room for him. Lowell would help plenty of other teams in a much bigger role than he has in Boston, but unless they can get significant value for him or save significant money by unloading him it makes sense for the Red Sox to keep Lowell around as an insurance policy at third base, first base, and designated hitter.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.