Lowell says his knee is improving

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Mike Lowell told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that his left knee “felt great compared to yesterday.” Lowell was forced to leave Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his leg in his first at-bat.

“The swelling under the knee cap is annoying and I can’t flex my quad
(all the way), but it’s (swelling) a quarter of what it was yesterday.”

Even though the knee is improving, Lowell acknowledged that he will likely miss two three days before getting clearance to play again, greatly diminishing the already slim chance that the Red Sox will be able to trade him before the end of spring training.

Still, Lowell doesn’t see the disabled list as a possibility to start the season, saying “I don’t want to be on a phantom DL.” With just 10 at-bats this spring, it might not be so phantom.

Manny Machado, batting second, playing shortstop in his Dodgers debut

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The biggest news of the All-Star break — even bigger than the All-Star Game itself — was the trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers. We talked about it for days, but now the talking is done: Machado is playing shortstop and is batting second in his Dodgers debut this evening against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Machado is expected to play a little third base for the Dodgers, too, but with Justin Turner still out with a bum hop, Machado will play his preferred position. It’s not the one he plays as well, but that’s another topic altogether and is, eventually, going to be Dave Roberts’ problem.

Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI on the year. Those numbers all get set back to zero now that he’s in the National League, however. Tonight he begins compiling new numbers.