In three rehab games with Pawtucket, Mike Lowell is hitting .357.
Before and after those games, he is batting 1.000.
(photo courtesy of Louriann Mardo-Zayat)
The four-time All-Star is making an impressive bid to be Pawtucket’s 2010 MVRP (Most Valuable Rehabbing Player) with the generosity he has displayed toward his teammates, and the fun he is having while spending a week in the minors.
As I’ve described many times, it’s customary for a rehabbing big leaguer to buy a post-game “spread” for his minor league teammates on his first night in town, but Lowell has sprung for feasts after each of his three starts.
Thursday: Steaks and chicken from Russell Morin Fine Catering and a buffet from the Dominican Restaurant in Central Falls, RI.
Saturday: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (if you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend the Spicy Ground Chicken and Eggplant).
Sunday: Outback Steakhouse (steak + shrimp = happy clubhouse).
Lowell was not in the starting lineup on Monday in Columbus, but he still treated his mates to a pre-game feast of sandwich wraps and sushi. Then when we all piled on the bus to head to Toledo, Lowell paid for 12 large pizzas from Little Caesars.
There was even enough for two hungry radio guys.
As one Pawtucket player put it, “I think I have a serious man-crush on Mike Lowell.”
But it’s not just the free food. Lowell has embraced the nostalgia of returning to places that he had not seen since his last full season in the minor leagues in 1998.
“When he walked into my office last Thursday, he said, ‘I can’t wait to get back on the field, I can’t wait to get back into baseball mode, and I can’t wait to take the bus trip from Columbus to Toledo,’ PawSox manager Torey Lovullo said with a laugh. “I said, ‘That’s absurd Mike.’ But he’s really excited to be back in this environment and I guess the meaning of that to me is that when you’re in it, you don’t appreciate it. When it gets taken away from you, you really miss it. The camaraderie and the fellowship are more meaningful than you realize.”
In 1998, Lowell was named the Columbus Clippers Player-of-the-Year, and on Monday night, the Clippers held a special pre-game ceremony to present him with a portrait of his much-younger self that had been hanging in the team’s Hall of Fame Bar.
Lowell also took the time to tour the shrine with Clippers’ Team President Ken Schnacke (My pal Rick Medeiros has the full story and some great photos on his blog “Rollin’ With Rick”).
Terry Francona told reporters in Anaheim yesterday that there’s a good chance that Lowell will be activated on Friday when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park to play the Tigers.
I think I might cry.
(By the way, the interview that I did with Lowell on Sunday for the PawSox pre-game show can be found online here)
Lowell is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday as the PawSox open a 4-game series in Toledo at 7:00. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
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