Tag:B.B. King
Posted on: March 8, 2010 11:56 pm
 

The Beltre-Lowell tango in Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Not long after third baseman Adrian Beltre arrived at his new home, he and Mike Lowell had a talk. It wasn't a major summit. The two were simply out on one of the practice fields when Lowell approached him, the two said hello and they then carefully broached the 800-pound elephant in the infield.

Lowell, 36 and recovering from thumb surgery, is being moved out to the Shady Acres Rest Home by the Red Sox.

Beltre, who will turn 31 on April 7 and is signed to a one-year, $10 million deal for 2010 with a player option for 2011, is replacing him.

The complicating factor, of course, is that Boston had Lowell traded to Texas over the winter but the Rangers nixed the trade after Lowell failed the physical because of the thumb.

So Lowell, due $12 million this year, is rehabbing while in a holding pattern. The Red Sox quietly pray he shows enough this exhibition season that they'll be able to trade him.

"Most people probably think it's uncomfortable," Beltre says. "But for us, not at all."

That the two are co-existing this spring is a tribute to Lowell's class and grace as one of the club's elder statesmen, and to Beltre's ability to walk gingerly through what is undoubtedly, at times, an uneasy start with his new employer.

"It's not easy," Beltre says. "He's been one of the best third basemen in the big leagues for the last 10 years. I've been a big fan of his. For me, he has one of the best [sets of] hands of any third baseman. It's just a situation where he's been hurt the last couple of years. ... It's not easy to be in his situation. Everybody knows he can play.

"We both want what's best. He wants to play. I want to play."

Lowell was the MVP of the 2007 World Series. He's been a good player for the Red Sox and pure class in the clubhouse. Yet, he committed the cardinal sin of getting older and breaking down. The hip. The thumb. The gray hairs.

He's a fan favorite and beloved by the Red Sox. But, hey, it's a business.

"He's a guy we really respect," manager Terry Francona says. "It can be a little bit difficult, to be honest with you. He's a guy who's earned that. He's been in the game a long time. All those things we talk about loyalty, he's earned it.

"Then, as an organization, we make decisions and they can be hard on guys sometimes. I think they really recognize that.

"So we just try to handle it the best we can. That's about as honest as I can be about that. Sometimes our evaluation doesn't match the player's evaluation And we understand that, too. And they can't. They never do. Anywhere."

Likes: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia barking good naturedly at somebody across the clubhouse the minute I opened the door at 8 a.m. the other morning. The guy never stops, even before the coffee has kicked in. ... You've got to pull for young Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the nicest guys in the game. ... Long-time Boston radio man Jonny Miller, who always has asked all the hard questions for WBZ and whose non-stop work in the face of nasty back problems is an inspiration. ... I'm perfectly fine with The Hurt Locker winning the Oscar for best picture. I'm really, really happy Avatar, the most overrated flick of the year, didn't win. ... The Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons opening the boys' basketball District Tournament this week at Blissfield. Go get 'em, Falcons.

Dislikes: Exhibition games have barely started and, already, players are dropping left and right: St. Louis' MVP Albert Pujols (back), Minnesota closer Joe Nathan (elbow), Cubs reliever Angel Guzman (shoulder), Dodgers catcher Russell Martin (groin) and Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon (broken finger) for starters. Martin is probably out four-to-six weeks minimum. Gordon is expected to miss at least two or three weeks. Guzman probably will be sidelined for the entire season and the Twins continue to hold their breath on Nathan. Meantime, the Cards say they aren't concerned with Pujols. Yet. Yikes.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If midnight is an awful hour
"Baby, why does it come so soon?
"If midnight is an awful hour
"Baby, why does it come so soon?
"It never brings me happiness
"Always leaves me filled with gloom"

-- B.B. King, Midnight Blues

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com