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Lowell's work in World Series good for MVP award

DENVER -- Mike Lowell is much more than some throw-in on a
Red Sox trade. He's the World Series MVP.

The steady third baseman capped an outstanding October with a
big performance Sunday night, earning MVP honors as Boston finished
a four-game sweep with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Earlier in the Series, Lowell called himself "the throw-in" on
the 2005 deal with Florida that brought ace Josh Beckett to Boston.
Nobody looks at Lowell that way anymore.

"Pretty good throw-in, I guess," Lowell said, drenched in
champagne as he clutched his glistening trophy in the raucous Red
Sox clubhouse. "Icing on the cake. This is just extra special."

Lowell homered, doubled and scored twice in the Game 4 clincher at
Coors Field, dirtying his uniform with a headfirst slide at the
plate that typified his whatever-it-takes attitude. Lowell hit .400
(6-for-15) in the Series with four RBIs, three walks and a
team-high six runs.

"I'm on Cloud 9. It's unbelievable," Lowell said, his
glistening MVP trophy sitting right in front of him. "We've got a
lot of people to give credit to."

When the Red Sox swept St. Louis in 2004 for their first
championship in 86 years, Lowell was still in Florida. This time,
he's got an invitation to the party.

A key cog in Boston's powerful lineup, Lowell bats fifth behind
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Lowell's job is to protect those big
boppers by driving in enough runs to make opponents think twice
about walking them.

Few could have done it better this year.

Lowell set career bests by batting .324 with a team-leading 120
RBIs. Pretty good numbers to show potential suitors in the
offseason, when he can become a free agent.

His best sales pitch, however, might be his production under
pressure.

Lowell, who also won a World Series ring with the Marlins in
2003, hit .348 this postseason with two homers and 13 RBIs. He did
it quietly, like almost everything. But that doesn't mean it went
unnoticed.

About 15 minutes after the final out, a huge horde of red-clad
Boston fans behind the third base dugout chanted "MVP! MVP!" for
Lowell and "Re-sign Lowell! Re-sign Lowell!"

"Free agency to me is very new, so I'm going to take it step by
step. But I've never hid the fact that I enjoy playing here in
Boston," Lowell said. "I have great teammates, a great manager,
great coaches, so we'll see what happens. But I'm more focused on
celebrating right now."

A four-time All-Star, Lowell got tossed into the Beckett trade
because the small-budget Marlins wanted to shed his $9 million
salary after he had a disappointing season.

The Red Sox made him their everyday third baseman, and they've
been rewarded with two fine years of professionalism and leadership
in the clubhouse.

"I was the throw-in in the deal. They needed Josh Beckett,"
Lowell said last week. "They needed to get a top right-handed
pitcher, and I don't think the Red Sox after the '05 season were
like, Lowell has to be in that deal for us to take Beckett. I'm
sure that's not the way they were going."

It was Beckett who won the 2003 World Series MVP for the
surprising Marlins.

Now, Lowell has a trophy of his own.

"I think in '03 no one expected us to do anything, so we were
kind of beating the odds each time," Lowell said. "But I think
it's a little different when, from the onset, a lot of people are
expecting you to win a world championship and if you don't it's a
disappointing year. For us to come through and do what we thought
we were capable of doing is unbelievable."