A friend feels for Lowell

CLEVELAND -- Mike Redmond, the 39-year-old backup catcher for the Cleveland Indians, made his 16th start of the season Monday night, which matches the number of starts his good friend Mike Lowell has made for the Red Sox this season.

“It’s one of the few times in our career where we serve the same role,’’ Redmond said Monday night. “It’s kind of funny.’’

The difference, of course, is that Redmond has never played in more than 89 games in a season, and that was in 2002. Lowell has been an everyday player his entire career until this season, when his career detoured into baseball purgatory: an extra player on a team that doesn’t have a place for him to play, unless someone gets hurt.

“It’s hard, man,’’ Redmond said of watching what Lowell is going through. “I know he cares so much about playing and loves to compete. He worked his butt off to become the player that he was and that he is.

“It’s not easy to see a friend go through tough times and not have things work out the way you want them to for him.’’

Redmond and Lowell became friends while playing together for the Marlins. Every off-season, Redmond said, their families take a trip together. “We went to Miami for a few days and hung out with them,’’ Redmond said, “then we all went to the Bahamas.

“We went through a lot together, man. We’re best friends. I love him, man.

“For him to feel as good as he is now and not be able to play, that’s frustrating. I think he’s been around the game long enough, he understands what’s going on. He’s got to make the most of his opportunities and go out there and do the best job he can. I know he takes a lot of pride in his game. I know he’ll go out there and compete in whatever role.

“You’re in a no-win situation. The only exit is to be moved on to another team. I don’t know what’s going on over there. I just want the best for him. I know he doesn’t want to become a distraction.’’