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Old friend stops in to help out

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There were more than a few double-takes when someone from Boston’s recent past showed up on the field at Jet Blue Park wearing his familiar No. 25 uniform.

No, not that guy. Bobby Valentine was busy being introduced as the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University.

This No. 25 was welcomed back happily by former teammates delighted to see Mike Lowell in the house.

Lowell, prompted by pal Dustin Pedroia to make a visit, showed up Tuesday to work with third baseman Will Middlebrooks. They first met in 2010, Lowell’s final season with the Red Sox, when Middlebrooks was a minor-league extra summoned to run the bases in drills or play the ninth inning of an exhibition game.

“He told me, 'I’m always around,' " Middlebrooks said. “He always told me, 'Use me. I’ve been around and I want to help out.'

“That’s huge for me. He’s won World Series, he’s won Gold Gloves. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I’m here for."