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Boston's Lowell Out Tonight, Maybe Beyond?

Red Sox Manager Terry Francona struck a somber tone during his pre-game news conference just now, revealing that third baseman Mike Lowell is "hurting" and acknowledging the team has "some decisions to make" in regards to his spot on the roster.

Lowell, who has been playing with a torn labrum in his hip, was visibly struggling during Sunday night's game and was removed for a pinch-runner in the 10th inning, after a rough night at the plate and in the field. He'll be on the bench tonight, with first baseman Kevin Youkilis shifting over to third and Mark Kotsay playing first.

Francona implied the Red Sox have discussed removing Lowell from their roster and replacing him -- a move that would also make Lowell ineligible for the ALCS, should the Red Sox advance. It stands to reason the only reasons that hasn't happened already are Lowell's stature with the team (he was the MVP of last year's World Series, for one thing) and his desire to continue playing, if at all possible.

Here are tonight's lineups:

Chone Figgins - 5
Garret Anderson - 7
Mark Teixeira - 3
Vlad Guerrero - DH
Torii Hunter - 8
Mike Napoli - 2
Juan Rivera - 9
Howie Kendrick - 4
Erick Aybar - 6
(John Lackey - 1)

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury - 8
Dustin Pedroia - 4
David Ortiz - DH
Kevin Youkilis - 5
J.D. Drew - 9
Jason Bay - 7
Mark Kotsay - 3
Jed Lowrie - 6
Jason Varitek -2
(Jon Lester - 1)

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 6, 2008; 5:06 PM ET
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