Mike Lowell is prepared to hit the field and play in a game in two weeks, he reported yesterday. Although he hasn’t suffered any setbacks with his right hip, he also hasn’t been running the bases yet, which could make or break his progress.

It’s very possible, although no noise has been made about it, that Lowell could suffer a setback which would either a) postpone his regular season debut or (worst case) b) knock his 2009 season out entirely.

Should Lowell not be able to start on Opening Day, this means Julio Lugo would start at shortstop with Jed Lowrie manning third base. There’s a problem with this, however. The problem?

Who the heck is our backup infielder?

Oh, sure, Angel Chavez, Nick Green, Gil Velazquez or even Argenis Diaz could fill in… but they are certainly not good major league bench players by any stretch of the imagination (Diaz excepted, who could definitely turn into one).

This could become a problem if yet another player gets injured or needs a few days off due to the flu. A few days off doesn’t sound all that much, but when you have a clearly inferior player at the bottom of your lineup with Lugo already in that lineup, that offense suddenly has a big fat question mark around it.


If Lowell doesn’t make it, there’s no question that Lugo would be the shortstop with Youkilis staying at first base and Lowrie at third. Even if the club might be better off with Chris Carter, Jeff Bailey, Brad Wilkerson or Mark Kotsay at first with Youk at third, put that out of your mind. You know as well as I do that Lugo would get the job.

So let’s focus on who the Sox could bring in should Lowell not be ready and the club unprepared to hand Velazquez, Chavez or Green the job.


Grudz is going on 39, but he can still perform. Last year for the Kansas City Royals, he hit .299/.345/.399. Most of his power has been sapped, He’s logged most of his career at second but has played enough short that he could field the position. Not a bad stopgap at all.


Durham can still rake, although he’s resisting the offers he’s been given as he feels he’s worth more than a couple hundred grand (really, Ray?) and a minor league contract. That’s all well and good, but should a position open at the major league level, I would think he’d take the offer. I’d probably put Grudzielanek ahead of him because of fielding, but the option is there.


Yeah, I went there. Nomar’s reportedly considering retirement or signing with either the Philadelphia Phillies or Oakland Athletics. Why not the Sox? The fit is there — he can play any position across the diamond and for obvious reasons, the fans would love him back.

Look, the breakup with Nomar was acrimonious. We know this. He turned down a four-year, $60 million extension which proved to be one of the worst decisions a ballplayer has ever made. He milked an injury and became a drag in the clubhouse. He was shipped out and saw the Sox rebound and win the World Series without him.

But time heals all wounds. If the opportunity is there to bring him back in a clearly defined role, I would think both parties would be amenable to it.

There’s no indication that Mike Lowell will not be ready for Opening Day, but we should definitely at least be prepared for that fact… or the fact that he may be a question mark the entire season. If so, we need to bring in external options because relying on our current internal options long-term is not an option.

What do you think? Are our internal options good enough or should we go out and get Nomar if the situation presents itself?