Notes: Lowrie (shoulder) back in the lineup

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Notes: Lowrie (shoulder) back in the lineup

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com Red SoxInsider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After three days off, Jed Lowrie returned to the lineup Wednesay night, having gotten some rest for his left shoulder.

"It's not pain-free,'' said Lowrie of the shoulder, "but we're working on getting the strength back up and getting it feeling better, knowing that with the MRI results, it's just a matter of getting the strength and flexibility back.''

Lowrie was out of the lineup Sunday in Toronto, enjoyed the off-day in the schedule Monday and then was off again Tuesday. He's unsure how much rest he's going to need going forward.

"I think it's a day-by-day thing,'' he said. "If we continue to progress and know that as long as we stay on top of it, it will get better.''

Lowrie described the issue as "general tightness, weakness -- just what you'd expect after a collision.''

Lowrie collided with outfielder Mike Cameron 2 12 weeks ago in Detroit, the start of his problems.

"As far the symptoms, it is getting better,'' he said. "We're using every resource we have available to get it better.''

The Sox are still more than 10 days away from playing road interleague games, when they'll lose the use of the DH.

The schedule calls for the Sox to play nine straight in NL parks -- three in Pittsburgh, three in Philadelphia and three in Houston -- during which time they'll not have a spot for David Ortiz, who leads the team in, among other categories, homers and slugging percentage.

"This is hard...this is unfair,'' said Terry Francona. "We're going to go nine straight days (without use of Ortiz). In the past with Mikey Lowell, (Kevin Youkilis) and David, it was an obvious fix -- each guy played two (of every three games). Right now, it's not so obvious. It's going to be hard.''

Asked his thoughts on the proposed realignment plan which would eliminate divisions, award playoff spots to the top five teams in each league, shift an NL team to the AL and return to a balanced schedule, Francona said: "I love the idea of a balanced schedule. And the more teams they want to add to the playoffs, I'm all for.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

In a week that has seen the Red Sox trade arguably the best prospect in baseball, Thursday can serve as a reminder that not all prospects -- even the great ones -- end up hitting. 

Eleven years ago today, the Red Sox traded Edgar Renteria to the Braves, and in eating some of the veteran shortstop’s contract, got Atlanta to give them third baseman Andy Marte. 

Andy freaking Marte. Those stupid, stupid Braves.

If you were a baseball fan at the time, you were flummoxed at the notion that the Braves, who were a factory for developing good, young players, would trade the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball from 2005, according to Baseball America. At 22 years old, he was coming off seasons that saw him hit 23 homers in Double-A and 20 in Triple-A. 

“There’s nothing not to like about Andy Marte. He’s and outstanding defender with a chance to be an impact player offensively,” an opposing Double-A manager said of him, per Baseball America. 

Some of the other guys in the top 10 that year? Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir. Sitting one spot behind Marte on the list? Hanley Ramirez. 

And when the Red Sox got Marte, he immediately shot up to No. 1 on the Baseball America’s list of Boston’s prospects. Look at the rest of this list. Hell, there’s a combined 10 All-Star nods between Nos. 2 and 3 alone, and that’s not to mention the American League MVP sitting at No. 5. 

So what did Marte do for the Red Sox? Well, he got them Coco Crisp. After Theo Epstein returned from his hiatus, he shipped Marte, the recently acquired Guillermo Mota (dude got traded three times in six months), Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later and cash for Crisp, Josh Bard and David Riske. 

Crisp didn’t exactly rip it up in Boston, but Epstein’s (and then-Braves general manager John Schuerholz’) foresight to trade Marte proved wise. Marte spent six seasons in Cleveland, seemingly given every chance to break out, but never played more than 81 games. He was designated for assignment in 2009 and cleared waivers, allowing him to stay with the organization as a Triple-A player. The next season was his final one in Cleveland, and he left a six-season stint in with the organization having averaged just 50 games, three homers and 16 RBI at the Major League level. 

Marte would bounce around a bit in the Pittsburgh and Angels organizations, but he didn’t make it back up to the bigs until 2014 on a July 31 callup with the Diamondbacks. He’s now playing in Korea. 

Great prospects often become great players, and the Red Sox’ roster is proof of that. Strikeout concerns aside, there’s not much to suggest Yoan Moncada won’t be an absolute stud. Fans looking for silver lining to losing a top-tier prospect (other than the fact that you could Chris Sale for the guy), can look back 11 years and hope for the best. A lot of people were wrong about Andy Marte.

Report: Chapman, Yanks reach agreement on five-year, $86 million deal

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Report: Chapman, Yanks reach agreement on five-year, $86 million deal

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.