Lowell surgery nixes Sox-Rangers deal

Lowell surgery nixes Sox-Rangers deal

ARLINGTON -- Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery and ends the possibility of him being traded to the Rangers, sources said Saturday.

Lowell was examined by a hand specialist in Arizona on Friday and the Rangers medical staff on Saturday in Arlington. The consensus is Lowell needs surgery and is expected to have it done sometime after Christmas. He is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks and be ready to play possibly by the second week of exhibition games in March.

But at this point, a trade that would have sent Lowell to the Rangers for catcher Max Ramirez is not going to happen. The two teams had worked out a deal at the Winter Meetings earlier this month in Indianapolis, but it was dependent on a review of medical records and Lowell passing a physical.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels declined to discuss Lowell's situation but said, "I expect we'll still add to the club in a few spots. We've been in regular contact with guys we're interested in and I like our options. Fortunately for us, the market is relatively strong in the areas we're looking at."

The thumb has been an issue for Lowell over the past two seasons, and he re-injured it in the final week of this past season. He sat out the final weekend of the season, then played in the three-game American League Division Series. He had two singles in 10 at-bats as the Red Sox were swept by the Angels.

The Rangers were hoping that Lowell could have filled their need for a right-handed bat who could be used at designated hitter and at one of the corner infield spots. The Rangers were attracted by the possibility that he could be used at both first and third base.

The Rangers are still looking for a right-handed bat, and they have interest in free agents Vladimir Guerrero and Jermaine Dye. They are the primary right-handed bats who might fit both the Rangers' needs and their budget. However, Guerrero is looking for a two-year deal and Dye isn't eager to sign with a team and be primarily used at designated hitter.

But it's also obvious they have concerns about having depth at third base after Michael Young missed most of September with a strained hamstring muscle.

Another possibility is Jim Thome. He is a left-handed hitter but could still give the Rangers a major presence in the middle of the lineup as a designated hitter.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.