Red Sox Notebook: Lowrie Glad To Be Back

Jed Lowrie is happy to still be with the Red Sox after a winter in which his name was bandied about in trade rumors involving Twins ace Johan Santana.

"I would love to stay here and play with the Red Sox," Lowrie told the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley Saturday. "I don't really have any expectations this year. I guess my expectations are to remain healthy and go out and be the same player, no matter where I'm at."

Among infielders in the chain, Lowrie—who bounced back from an injury-plagued 2006 to hit .298 with 13 homers and 70 RBI between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket—is clearly closest to major league ready. He split time at Pawtucket between second base and shortstop and even dabbled at third base.

Papelbon participates in parade: Sox reliever Jonathan Papelbon participated in the Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade Friday night. He rode on the Red Sox float in the annual event, which takes place in downtown Fort Myers. The Sox' official mascot, Wally the Green Monster, also took part in the parade.

Spring schedules: The Sox' first full workout is scheduled for this Friday, Feb. 22. The Sox have 55 players in major league camp.

The exhibition season will open on Thursday, Feb. 28, when the Sox host a college split doubleheader at City of Palms Park. The Sox take on Boston College at 1:05 p.m. and Northeastern University at 6:05 p.m. According to the Sox, tickets remain for both the Boston College and Northeastern games and are half price.

Sox keep on Driving: The Sox and the Greenville Drive recently announced the extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) for an additional four years. The extension will keep the Sox South Atlantic League Single-A affiliate in Greenville through the 2012 season. Sox director of player development Mike Hazen and Greenville president Craig Brown made the announcement Feb. 8 in Greenville, South Carolina.

"We are very happy to extend our PDC with the Greenville Drive through the 2012 season," Hazen said in a statement released by the Sox. "There has been a very positive working relationship between the Red Sox and Drive organizations since we began this affiliation in 2005. Our young players are fortunate to be able to play in such an outstanding facility as West End Field. We look forward to working with Craig Brown and his great staff for many years to come."

The Sox originally entered into an agreement with the Drive when the franchise moved from Columbia, SC to Greenville for the 2005 season. The PDC was extended for two years through 2008 prior to the 2006 season.

Greenville is one of six minor league affiliates for the Sox, joining Triple-A Pawtucket (International League), Double-A Portland (Eastern League), Single-A Lancaster (California League), Single-A Lowell (New York-Penn League), and Rookie Gulf Coast Red Sox (Gulf Coast League). Last year, the Sox extended their PDC with Portland through 2012.

This will likely be the last season the Sox have an affiliate in Lancaster; the club recently bought the Salem Avalanche of the Carolina League and are expected to move their low-A affiliate there once the PDC with Lancaster expires after this season.

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