ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The early word on Boston's myriad health issues Tuesday was "encouraging", as Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, as the club prepared for Game 1 of its American League Divisional Series with the Angels here Wednesday.
The Red Sox's main worry, for the time being, is third baseman Mike Lowell, who has struggled with a partially torn labrum in his right hip. Lowell seemed to move around reasonably well in Tuesday's workout, and though they still likely won't determine whether he can play in Game 1 until Wednesday, they're more optimistic now than they were.
"It was encouraging the way he moved around, or the moving he did do," Francona said about two-thirds of the way through Boston's workout. "It didn't grab at him, and that's very encouraging."
Regarding Boston's two other key injuries, outfielder J.D. Drew (strained lower back) "looked pretty good", Francona said. And starter Josh Beckett (strained oblique) is still on track to start Game 3 on Sunday in Boston.
"He threw from 60 feet, 30 throws, then threw from 90 feet, 20 throws, then moved back and threw again from 60 feet," Francona said. "The ball came out of his hand very well."
Beckett is scheduled to throw long toss Wednesday and then throw a side session in the bullpen Thursday.
As for Lowell, he's retaining hope.
"I would love to play," he said before Wednesday's workout. "It's going to be fairly simple. If I can make plays and move around, I think I will. If I can't, I won't.
"I feel great sitting around. Doing nothing, I feel fantastic. But until we're sitting on the couch and that's what it takes to play baseball. ..."
It isn't, and especially against an Angels team that is as aggressive as any club in the majors. That's why Lowell's mobility -- or lack of -- is as important as anything else as Francona makes his decisions in this series. The Angels will bunt, take the extra base, make the Red Sox make plays.
Which could be to the detriment of Lowell, if his hip injury keeps him several steps slow. Lowell said it doesn't hurt to hit, but Francona quickly shot down the idea of using Lowell as his designated hitter and David Ortiz at first base because of the way the Angels play.
"He's one of the best defensive third basemen in the game," Francona said of Lowell. "If he can move and he's not in agony, if he can position himself, I think we're a better team with him at third base. If we have to move (Kevin Youklis) over and have to play somebody else at first base. ..."
If so, that's probably not the Red Sox's best option. But it might become their most realistic option.
Lowell said that Boston cannot worry about its banged-up players, that the show must go on.
"If some key guys are out and we're not at full strength, I don't think that will determine whether we can win this series," Lowell said. "Whoever executes better and plays well, that will determine if you win the series."
Francona said the club will not determine its final roster for the divisional series until late Tuesday night or, possibly, Wednesday morning. He planned to meet with front office officials back at the team hotel later Tuesday for more discussion.