After another cancer scare, Mike Lowell is happy to be back playing baseball.
One day after returning from a weekend of medical examinations as part of a tumor scare, Lowell went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, leading Florida to a 4-1 victory over Montreal on Monday.
Lowell, who had surgery in 1999 for testicular cancer, felt soreness in his groin the last three weeks and doctors told him Friday that a golf ball-sized mass above his left femur might be a tumor.
However, the following day specialists in Gainesville, Fla., determined it was not a tumor or cancerous, and instead was fibrous dysplasia, a benign condition of the bone.
Lowell said getting into the batters box “felt like I was back in the normal world, not in the worries that I was in the last few days.”
Lowell has been the Marlins’ best player this season, with 28 home runs and 78 RBIs.
“He was a big lift to our ballclub, as soon as he walked in our clubhouse you could see it in the atmosphere and the attitude. It was completely upbeat,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.
The Expos also got a lift on Monday when slugger Vladimir Guerrero returned to the lineup. Guerrero missed 39 games with a herniated disc. He was batting .301 with eight homers and 33 RBIs before going on the DL on June 6.
Guerrero went 2-for-4 with two singles in his first game back from the 15-day disabled list.
The All-Star right fielder has hit at least 34 home runs and driven in 100 runs in five straight seasons.
The Expos are helping Guerrero can help them get back on track. Montreal has lost three straight and 11 of 14 to fall 15 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
STANDINGS: Expos - 4th place, 15 1/2 GB, NL East. Marlins - 3rd place (tied), 14 1/2 GB, NL East.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Tomo Ohka (7-9, 4.43 ERA). Ohka is 3-5 with a 5.36 ERA on the road. The right-hander failed to earn a decision in his last start. Ohka went six innings, allowing two runs and eight hits but it wasn’t enough as the Expos lost to Philadelphia 5-2 on Thursday.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Carl Pavano (6-10, 4.41 ERA). Pavano, who pitched five seasons with Montreal, is 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA in his career against his former team. The 27-year-old Pavano was on the losing end of a 5-1 decision against the Chicago Cubs on July 9. He allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .332 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 13 HRs, 52 RBIs and 63 runs; Endy Chavez, 15 SBs. Marlins - Luis Castillo, .310 avg.; Lowell, 28 HRs and 78 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 63 runs and 45 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 6-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - OF Guerrero is 3-for-13 with a double and a home run against Pavano. … Last season, the Expos lost injured players for a total of 116 games. This season, they have already lost 341 games to injury. … SS Cabrera went 0-for-4 on Monday to snap a 15-game losing streak. Marlins - 2B Castillo is mired in a 3-for-23 slump. … OF Pierre ranks third in the NL with 122 hits. … 3B Lowell is batting only .100 (1-for-10) against RHP Ohka.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 22-31 on the road; Marlins - 27-21 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendecitis), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL. Marlins - RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL.