Lowell, Drew take positive steps

Lowell, Drew take positive steps

BOSTON -- Monday was an optional workout day for the Red Sox, one that included batting practice but no fielding due to a beat up Fenway Park infield that weathered several days of rain over the weekend.

Both Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew were on the field doing their part to hit and test out just how effective their bodies be heading into the American League Division Series against the Angels beginning on Wednesday. Both took lavish cuts on the field, and both seemed to respond quite well.

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Drew, who has battled a nagging back injury since mid-August, looked sharp in the cage. He played in two games over the past week, getting two at-bats in both but feeling a little weak in his legs after not working out a lot in the past month due to his aching back.

On Monday, Drew sent balls screaming into the Fenway stands. Manager Terry Francona seemed optimistic about his progress, noting it was a good sign seeing Drew take part in an optional batting practice session.

Lowell's progress is a bit more uncertain. His partially torn labrum in his right hip forced him out of Friday's game against the Yankees, and he sounded less than optimistic after the game about his chances of taking part in postseason play.

On Monday, Lowell was much more upbeat. While he said he still needs to evaluate his health on Tuesday when he can take ground balls and test out his lateral movement, Lowell said his BP session went smoothly.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "It's never really bothered me to swing, so today was kind of just to get into the flow of the game. Tomorrow will be a big day, because I'll be taking ground balls and seeing how that goes. I think that'll be more information for me."

Lowell has played in just 12 games since Aug. 13, and it was visible to see how much pain he was in when he left Friday's game against New York. But Francona always stresses just how tough Lowell is and how much pain he can tolerate.

Having the 2007 World Series MVP in the lineup is certainly the objective. The question is how much Lowell can handle when trying to shift from side to side at third base.

"It's the lateral movement," Francona said. "I don't know if it's starting and stopping, but it's somewhat stopping. He had a pretty good day, but we'll try to answer some questions tomorrow."

Postseason rosters are due in by 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, and Drew and Lowell will be with the team in Anaheim. The only teammates that won't be making the trip are four pitchers and one catcher.

Devern Hansack, David Pauley and David Aardsma were all sent to Fort Myers, Fla., to take part in instructional league play. Hansack and Pauley will be there to stretch and work out with the team, Francona said, while Aardsma will be working in short pitching stints to stay sharp. None will be on the ALDS roster.

Chris Smith and George Kottaras were sent home and will not compete again this season.

Once Tuesday comes around, Francona should know more about just how effective and available Lowell and Drew will be moving into play against Los Angeles. If Monday is any indication, both should see playing time in Anaheim.

Lowell certainly seemed optimistic about his chances.

"It depends on tomorrow," he said. "I'd definitely like to. It depends on how I'm able to move defensively. But I think it'll be pretty good."

Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.