Call it the curse of the Epsteins.

Back in the day, Theo’s great uncles, Leslie and Julius Epstein, wrote the screenplay for The Man Who Came to Dinner, about a boorish playwright who cracks his hip while visiting friends and becomes a bedridden nuisance to his hosts while he recovers. Now, decades later, Mike “Scenic” Lowell is the third baseman who came to dinner–diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right thumb that kiboshes his trade to Texas and keeps him firmly lodged in Boston, for now anyway.

My question is, how does something like this get uncovered by another team’s medical staff? Did Scenic know his thumb was hurtin’ but figured it to be no biggie–just a side effect of all those hours playing Halo? Did the Boston medical staff and/or Theo know Lowell was damaged goods, hence the willingness to pay most of his salary (hey, what do you want for 3 million bucks)? If there was prior knowledge of the tear, did Lowell or anyone else ever consider getting it fixed sooner rather than later so that he could be some kind of factor in 2010? Was this all part of some insidious front office plot to create the single most awkward spring training ever?

Where we go from here will be intriguing. Maybe Lowell has surgery and gets shipped to some other team next spring at an even lower cost. Maybe he sticks with the Sox, knowing full well we were willing to literally pay him to play elsewhere, spelling Ortiz at DH and getting the occasional big hit/home run. Or — and this is something right out of a Julius Epstein screenplay — Lowell gets healthy in time for opening day and has a monster season, becoming the big bat the Sox so desperately need, and inspiring the 2010 battle cry, “What the hell was Theo thinking?”

I’ll be hoping for the last option. But I’ve been drinking since Wednesday.