BOSTON—Carlos Lee emerged from the trainer's room Sunday a good 35 minutes after the game's final out.
He wore a shower shoe on his left foot. His right foot and ankle were taped.
White Sox. So when he had to leave Sunday's 7-2 victory over Boston with a sprained ankle, the Sox had reason to fret.
Now they can exhale.
Lee won't miss a minute of their series at Minnesota, which begins Tuesday night.
"No question about it," he said. "I won't be out of the lineup."
The Sox need Lee to perform as he did Sunday, when the 27-year-old left fielder smashed a two-run homer in the first inning and lined an RBI double to left in the fifth.
"I'm happy to be hitting behind him right now," Frank Thomas said. "If he gets pitches to hit, he's going to whack the baseball."
Evidently Lee has been getting pitches to hit, because he's batting .418 over his last 17 games. He has 16 homers and 53 RBIs in his last 58 games, boosting career highs to 30 homers and 104 RBIs.
"He has been getting big hits for us all year. He has done a good job in left field and he can bat anywhere in the lineup," manager Jerry Manuel said. "You have to start talking about MVP [with him]."
Manuel already has pushed for Thomas and Magglio Ordonez to be the American League's most valuable player, so which one is it?
"Whoever's hot at that time," he replied. "Whoever brings us down the stretch and puts us in the postseason. That's the MVP."
By taking two of three from the Red Sox, the South Siders remained in a dead heat with the Twins, who beat Cleveland 5-3 Sunday. Next up are three games at the Metrodome, followed by 10 against the Royals and the Yankees. "We can't think two of three," Lee said. "We have to think about taking all three."
After Lee's homer gave the Sox a 2-0 lead, Boston chipped away off Mark Buehrle, tying the game on Bill Mueller's sacrifice fly in the third.
Sandy Alomar Jr. took Boston right-hander John Burkett over the Green Monster in the fifth to put his team ahead. "It was a perfect situation to be aggressive, an 0-0 count [with one out]," Alomar said. "He hung a slider and I happened to hit it good."
Roberto Alomar followed with a walk, and Lee drove him home with a double. Ordonez made it 5-2 by scoring Lee with a shot down the left-field line.
Thomas provided the final blow with a two-run single in the ninth. That ended an 0-for-8 skid in which he had struck out five times.
"It was very frustrating," he said. "What I had to work with made it tough, the barrage of knuckleballs [Saturday from Tim Wakefield] and then the barrage of curveballs. It makes for a long day. I'm just happy we won."