Lowell returns to Boston, reflects on retirement

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Lowell returns to Boston, reflects on retirement

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, in Boston with his family, visited Fenway Park Friday for the first time since retiring at the end of last season. It was as much to satisfy a request of his two children as it was to catch up with his former teammates.

I think after it was kind of in November-ish, Lowell said. My kids asked me, Are we ever going to come back to Boston? because I told them we were selling the apartment. I said, yeah, we were going to come in the summer. So we kind of looked at the schedule and this was put in there about six months ago and its been nice. Took advantage, had a nice dinner with Dustin Pedroia last night. He brought me up to speed. He still thinks hes going to kill everyone. Four more hits tonight. So, thats good. But yeah the kids are good and were enjoying it. I didnt know we were going to get Miami weather here in Boston. Its been good though.

Although he looks fit, and he said his surgically repaired right hip is feeling good, Lowell, who turned 37 in February, is happy with his decision to retire after 13 seasons and two World Series championships.

Well, my hip feels so good right now that I feel like if I had to play, I could, he said. But Im just really satisfied that after another surgery with how well Im moving around. I can jog. I can run. And that was a big thing So from that standpoint, just from my life standpoint, it feels really good. Been able to enjoy the summer. It was weird with the free time. But its been fun. Ive really enjoyed it. I think I miss coming to a challenge every day. Its kind of what Ive known for the better part of 17 years. I miss my friends. Youre in the same grind together. But Im still at peace with my decision. So I think I made the right one.

For now, his baseball activities are limited to coaching his sons 6-year-old T-ball team. Mike Redmond, with whom Lowell played in Florida, is now managing the Lansing Lugnuts, a Single-A affiliate of the Blue Jays. Lowell recently visited Redmond, whose last season was also last year. While Lowell respects the work Redmond is doing, he doesnt see it in his future.

I think if youre going to do something like that, it deserves a lot of time, Lowell said. Im not willing to do that at this point in my life. I dont know. I played around with the MLB network. Im going to do a little more of that. And thats actually fun for me. So, I think in that sense it keeps me in the loop. I still get to follow the game and try to sound educated when I talk about it.

Although Lowell won World Series titles with both the Marlins, in 2003, and Red Sox, in 2007, he doesnt assign himself to either team. He just considers himself an ex-ballplayer.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

For a Red Sox team that has been the best in baseball in September and had won 11 straight prior to last night, you have to admit: There are a lot of things that could go the other way with this team in the playoffs that wouldn't surprise you.

To wit:

-- Would it surprise you if David Price blew up again in the postseason? He has a 5.12 career postseason ERA and has never won a playoff start. Was last night a precursor? He looked like his old shaky October self with a chance to clinch the division in Yankee Stadium.

-- Would it surprise you if Clay Buchholz crapped his pants when it mattered most? This is your No. 3 starter, folks, or No. 4 at worst. He's getting the ball in the playoffs either way, and if I told you that two months ago you'd tell me the Sox are sunk. He looks good now, but we all know he is the ultimate tease.

-- Would it surprise you if John Farrell blows a game with a bone-headed decision from the bench? Of course not; he's been doing that for nearly four years. Yes, he did it all the way to a title in 2013, but the possibility remains very real. It's in the back of most everyone's mind.

-- Would it surprise you if Koji Uehara regresses and the eighth inning once again becomes a problem? Uehara certainly has the experience and has pitched well recently, but the fact is that it feels like his arm is attached by a noodle.

-- Would it surprise you if some of the Sox' youth shows its age? It shouldn't. Happens all the time. Would it surprise you if Craig Kimbrel can't find the plate in a big save situation? It shouldn't. He's shown glimpses of it all season and has never pitched past the division series in his career. Would it surprise you if Hanley Ramirez makes an important mistake at first? Or the Sox' hole at third becomes a factor? Nope and nope.

We could play this game all night.

Now, what do I think is going to happen? I think the Sox are going to pitch well, even Price, and the offense will remain a force. I have full faith in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Rick Porcello and the lineup in general. There's a feeling on this team that's hard to ignore, likely inspired by Ortiz, and I think they'll keep it going in the postseason. I agree with those who say the Sox have the most talent in the American League, so that's a great place to start. I don't know if that means the ALCS, the World Series or a championship. I just think they'll continue to play well into October.

But all of that is just a feeling, just a prediction -- and you know what those are good for. The point is this: If it goes the other way for the Sox, I think we already have the reasons why.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.