Mike Lowell is definitely retired and “hip replacement is most likely inevitable”

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Rob Bradford of WEEI.com caught up with Mike Lowell, who made it clear that he’s definitely retired and revealed that his surgically repaired hip “has gone a little bit downhill.”

Lowell underwent surgery on his right hip following the 2008 season and recent X-rays showed that “it has gotten progressively worse.”

Here’s more from Lowell, who hit .239 with a .674 OPS in a part-time role for the Red Sox last year:

Without medication or pain management I don’t think I can run 50 yards right now, I know I can’t. I don’t want to be taking meds to go about my day-to-day life. I feel like my quality of life is going down a little bit. I want to teach my kid how to run the bases in Little League instead of just standing there. It seems trivial but it bothers me that I can’t do it.

Bradford writes that Lowell “understands that a hip replacement is most likely inevitable” and the four-time All-Star explained that he doesn’t regret using “anti-inflammatories and pain medication” to get through last season even if it wasn’t “the greatest thing for the hip” long term.

Lowell became a full-time player for the Marlins in 2000 and ceased being a regular for the Red Sox after 2009. During that decade-long stretch he ranked seventh among third baseman in Wins Above Replacement, trailing only Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, Adrian Beltre, and Troy Glaus.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?