Red Sox need relief
The Red Sox’s primary need at the trade deadline came into clearer focus on Sunday when Hideki Okjaima again couldn’t get the job done with the game on the line. Manager Terry Francona only has two relievers he can truly count on in any situation — Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard. The problem is that the cost for relief help around the game is exceedingly high when it comes to pitchers like Toronto’s Scott Downs, but perhaps the price will drop a bit in the final hours leading up to July 31.
As for players the Red Sox might part with, Mike Lowell continues to top that list. The veteran corner infielder is continuing his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket this week and is swinging the bat well. The Rangers and Tigers are two teams who have expressed some degree of interest in Lowell, who simply doesn’t have a spot on a Boston team that has Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre at the corners with David Ortiz DH-ing.
With a time-table for Jason Varitek’s return to the team still uncertain, the Sox are also looking for catching.
— Ian Browne