Beckett, Lowell, Lugo, Ortiz

Just an update on what many of you most likely already know about these four players. All good news I’m very happy to say.

Lugo – Our overpaid and underachieving shortstop will be on the opening day roster, and would have been on the World Series roster last season had it not been for the Rays. Lugo’s tear is completely healed and he has been working out all winter thus far. We expect to see him in a Red Sox uniform and at Spring Training right on schedule. I’m going to go ahead and predict a breakout year in Boston this year for Lugo. He’s had some time to rest and think about what it means to be on a championship team. He has heard rumors fly around about his departure. The expectations on him are low right now and it seems now (with his contract approaching its end after 2010) would be a great time for him to pick it up and justify another franchise signing him to a big contract (as I suspect the Red Sox will go with Jed Lowrie or sign someone else, not offering arbitration). Lugo’s swing is toned for Fenway park (he is normally a pull hitter) and it is amazing to me that his numbers have been as bad as they have been. He doesn’t strike out much as he usually puts the ball in play (2007 he struck out 82 times in 147 games). Just to put those numbers in perspective, Jeter struck out 100 times in 2007 in 154 games. A pull hitter who makes contact with the ball should not be having this much trouble in Fenway and I attribute a percentage of his .237 average his first year in Boston to bad luck. Last season he was closer to the .270 mark before he got injured. Still not where they want him, but showing that at least some of it, was bad luck. He struck out 51 times in 82 games in 2008. People look at 2007 as his worst year, however he drove in the second most RBI’s in his career without much power (73 RBI’s). Obviously those numbers mean he had quite a few big clutch at bats that we tend to let sneak by.

Josh Beckett – Our ace. Our star. Our playoff phenom. And he’s going to be back in 2009. According to all my reports Beckett has already started work on the upperbody and feels no movement restrictions or pains. As the Sox had predicted, this is not going to be a chronic problem and I’m going to guess by his competitive nature, that he is going to show up even more fired up than usual after his weak October outtings last season. Expect him to be in the Cy Young competition again. I called it in 2007. I’m calling it again. Top 10 AL Cy Young ballot 2009 for Beckett.

Mike Lowell – This is my biggest question mark, and its not his health. I hope that the talks for Teixeira didn’t harm the teams relationship with Mike Lowell. He is supposed to start swinging a bat from what I’ve heard within the next week or two. Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe ran an update somewhere around the 6th-9th of January (don’t feel like looking for it) that he is expected to be ready for Spring Training and that his hip feels fine. Lowell I consider the top “X-Factor” in the Red Sox lineup next year. If he can hit .290+ with 20+ homers and 90+ RBI’s, I see the Red Sox as having the best line-up in the power packed AL East.

“Big Papi” aka David Ortiz – Supposedly the wrist is so good he’s making a case to join the Dominican Republic WBC team. Please don’t do it Papi! This would not be a good year if he goes down somehow foolishly in the WBC. We already have 14 other players (between farm system and MLB) competing for spots on different rosters. However, either way Ortiz will be at Spring Training ready to go. Most recent reports say that the Red Sox will strongly urge Ortiz not to participate, and it seems like he will listen.

For more injury updates, I find the best sources are fantasy sports updates as the reports for next season are coming out. This will help you unbiasly (if thats a word) determine the fate of your players without all the extra talk.


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