Lovullo pumps iron with President Obama

Lovullo pumps iron with President Obama

NEW YORK -- Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo joked on Monday that he would bump up his workout program at the team hotel a little earlier in hopes of having a chance encounter with President Barack Obama.

As it turns out, it was no joke. Lovullo was hastier in getting to the gym on Tuesday, and he was able to not only see Obama, but talk to him and pose for a picture with him.

The Red Sox and Obama have been staying at the same Manhattan hotel this week. Obama was in town for the United Nations General Assembly. The Red Sox are playing a four-game series against the Yankees.

"It was almost unbelievable," said Lovullo. "I walked into the same place that he was and we were both civilians. He had the same workout clothes that I did; he just had 15 security guards that were watching his workout. It was a big difference."

Fortunately, Lovullo is not the shy type.

"I took the advice of my stepson and just walked up to him freely and said, 'Mr. President, nice to meet you. My name is Torey Lovullo. I'm one of the Red Sox coaches,' anticipating that he would have said, 'Hey, we had you guys in here [at the White House] a couple of years ago,' but nothing," said Lovullo.

"He wanted to talk about the White Sox, he wanted to talk about how our season was going. He's fairly dialed in to what's happening in Major League Baseball and we had a great conversation. He was comfortable and easy [to talk to]."

Lovullo also demonstrated his sense of humor during the chance encounter.

"I asked him one question," Lovullo said. "I said, 'When are you leaving, because it is extremely inconvenient for us to come and go around this hotel because of the perimeter?' [The conversation] was as normal as you could imagine. It was as exciting as you could probably imagine. And then I asked for a picture and got a picture at the end of the conversation."

Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen took the photo with his cellphone.

Lovullo was impressed at the shape Obama is in.

"He was doing free weights. He's got a great routine. He's in great shape. He was following a piece of paper that somebody wrote up for him. He had a towel, he had a protein drink, he had a weight belt, he was doing a circuit," said Lovullo. "He wasn't in one place at one time. He actually sat down and he asked if he could share the weights with me and used the same weights I was doing. I know how heavy they were for me and he didn't make them look so heavy. He made them look very easy. He's a strong man who is in good shape."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.