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Boston Red Sox : Healthy Ortiz, Lowell Report to Spring Training

E ASenior Analyst IFebruary 17, 2009

With the Red Sox training camp now open and getting up to full speed, the Sox start over with a clean slate.

They can erase a tough stretch run in which they ended up losing the division to the Tampa Bay Rays.

They can erase a tough seven-game ALCS loss to their new-found division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.

More importantly, they can erase all of the injuries that plagued them in 2008.

With camp opening last week, two key players of the 2007 team reported early.

On Monday, David Ortiz reported to camp 15 pounds lighter, according to one club source. Ortiz, the six-foot-four, 230-pound monster, has slimmed down in an effort to stay in shape and reduce injury risks.

Last year, Ortiz was put on the shelf with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, limiting him to only 109 games.

In 2007, Ortiz played a full season, hitting .332, with 35 home runs and 117 runs batted in. Due to his injuries in 2008, Ortiz was stopped amidst a pretty good season.

In those 109 games, Ortiz hit 23 long balls and drove in 89. However, his batting average fell to .264, his lowest since hitting .234 with the Minnesota Twins in 2001.

Also, third baseman Mike Lowell showed up for camp early on Monday. Lowell went down last year with a torn labrum in his hip, opting for an offseason surgery to correct it.

According to MLB.com's Ian Browne, there is a realistic chance that Lowell can be ready to start on opening day at the hot corner for the BoSox.

Lowell has been progressing nicely in his rehab, and it is reported that he has been hitting for three weeks now.

Even better news, Lowell, who offensively revived his career with the Red Sox, has not experienced any setbacks yet in his recovery period.

After a career-worst .236, eight home run, 58 RBI season for the Marlins in 2005, Lowell has hit .294 in three seasons with the Red Sox.

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