FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Texas Rangers, who sent a scout to watch Red Sox infielder Mike Lowell play for a third time Monday night, continue to "evaluate" him, a baseball source said Tuesday, an indication that the teams have not shut the door on a possible trade.
When the Rangers originally had a deal in place for Lowell, back in December, the idea was for him to serve as DH and back up Chris Davis at first and Michael Young at third. Since that deal was voided, the Rangers signed Vladimir Guerrero to be their DH, but they still could use an upgrade on their bench.
Matt Brown, who had one hit in 24 big-league at-bats over two seasons with the Angels, signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers in January and after a hot spring start has cooled some. Brown, who spent eight seasons in the minors with the Angels, was a third baseman the first six seasons and moved to first the last two.
The other candidate is Max Ramirez, who originally was signed as a catcher but has graded poorly at the position. Ramirez is the player the Rangers had agreed to send to the Red Sox last December for Lowell.
Lowell, who still entertains a desire to play every day, looked upon the Texas situation more favorably before Guerrero was signed. Still, given Guerrero's age (35) and injury issues -- he was limited to 100 games last season after tearing a pectoral muscle early in the year and has had chronic knee problems for the last five years -- Lowell could likely get much more playing time in Texas than he would here.
The Rangers believe they are in a position to contend, and if they decide Lowell is healthy, it would seem that this would be a tough deal for them to pass up.
A sticking point could very well be money. The Sox were willing to eat $9 million of Lowell's $12 million salary last December, but it remains to be seen whether the Rangers would be willing even to pay $3 million for a backup. That $3 million has since been allocated to other Texas players.
Lowell, who had two hits Monday night, is scheduled to play again Wednesday in Sarasota. He said Tuesday morning he has no control over his situation, so he's not worrying about it.
"I think he's a little closer to where he wants to be,'' Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan said Tuesday. "If you asked me a week ago, he was really disappointed where he was, both physically and mentally.
"In a way, hitting that ball off his knee kind of helped him a little bit to regroup mentally, and he did some extra work in the cage after he started feeling better, and he's feeling a lot better about his swing.''