BOSTON -- Mike Lowell was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 World Series. This year, he's doing everything he can just to make Boston's playoff roster.
Hindered by a hip injury and rain that made it unlikely he will take the field again in the regular season, Lowell will travel with the Red Sox to Anaheim on Monday with no guarantee he will be able to play in the division series against the Angels. He'll work out with coaches and doctors watching him Tuesday, a day before the team must submit its 25-man playoff roster.
"I don't think anyone can make predictions at this point," Lowell said after Saturday's game against the New York Yankees was rained out and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. "I'm still going to try. There's a window. We'll see how big it is."
The Red Sox and Yankees waited out 2 hours, 9 minutes of rain delays on Friday to finish a 19-8 New York victory that didn't end until end until 12:52 a.m. -- 5 hours, 47 minutes after the scheduled first pitch. With continuing rain in the forecast through Saturday night, they only had to wait 73 minutes before being sent home.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-2) will face Mike Mussina (19-9) in Sunday's first game at 1:35 p.m., and Tim Wakefield (10-11) will go against Sidney Ponson (8-5) at 7:35 p.m. A ceremony to retire Johnny Pesky's uniform No. 6, originally scheduled for Friday, will be before the first game.
"We'll probably go a little shorter than we would have," Francona said of keeping his players fresh and injury-free for the playoffs. "It's a long day tomorrow, a long day today and yesterday. We're going to try to play everybody."
Even J.D. Drew, who has played just once since Aug. 17 -- on Wednesday night, when he lasted three innings and committed an error in right field. Drew is penciled in to play the day game so he can shake off some rust and prove to the Red Sox that he will be useful in the playoffs.
"The plan was to play him, but when he said he couldn't, we didn't. And then he said he can, so we will," Francona said. "How's that?"
Although the Yankees have long-since been eliminated from playoff contention -- the first time they'll watch from the outside since 1993 -- Sunday offers Mussina a chance to win 20 games for the first time in his career. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would let Mussina choose which game he wanted to start.
"I told him, 'Moose, you got to be ready to play two," Girardi said.
The only New York regular not expected to play Sunday is shortstop Derek Jeter, who had a cast on his injured left hand after taking a pitch from Jim Miller on the hand last Saturday against the Orioles.
It matters little for Jeter, who has all winter to recover.
But for Lowell and Drew, there is little time before the playoffs begin.
Lowell made two trips to the disabled list this season and played just 112 games because of a sore hip. He was back in the lineup for the opener of the season-ending series against New York, but aggravated the injury during his only at-bat, in the first inning, and left the game.
Lowell said he didn't expect to be grandfathered into a roster spot just because of what he did last year, but he hoped a spot could be found for him as a pinch-hitter if that's all he could do. In a best-of-five series, the team could go with fewer pitchers.
"In a short series, maybe it's a little different," Lowell said Friday night.
Francona stressed that there was still time to make the decision and he was in no hurry to do it. The worst-case scenario was to put Lowell on the roster only to have him aggravate the injury the first time he steps on the field.
"He's a tough kid, maybe the toughest I've ever seen," Francona said. "He's not ready to quit so we're not going to quit on him."
Drew, who has a strained lower back, is scheduled to play right field in the first game, though the expected wet weather could squelch those plans. Saying that he was concerned about his condition, Drew also said he didn't want to take up a roster spot if he can't put it to good use.
The Yankees didn't let the bad weather dampen their rookie hazing ritual.
"The Ritz Carlton may not let them in," Girardi said.
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