Third baseman wants to stay

MIAMI -- All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell told a Florida radio station Tuesday that he's optimistic about returning to the Marlins next season.

Lowell, who made the comment during his weekly playoffs commentary over radio station WQAM, did not indicate whether he meant he'll decline to file for free agency, as he is allowed to do if the Marlins don't secure a stadium deal by Monday, or that he has strong indications the stadium will be built.

"We're definitely moving in the right direction," Lowell said, according to the Palm Beach Post. "I think something is really going to get worked out so hopefully we're headed toward a big future."

Lowell said on air that Marlins representatives had spoken to him in the past week about his contract and that he was encouraged about remaining in South Florida.

The Post was unable to reach Lowell, who is vacationing at Disney World, to explain further.

Marlins president David Samson confirmed to the newspaper that the Marlins had spoken with Lowell but declined to provide details.

"We have been working on it for a while," Samson said. "We will have some sort of announcement by Nov. 1."

According to the Post, the Marlins could rework Lowell's four-year, $32 million contract, signed in December, removing the clause that allows Lowell to leave if the stadium falls through and pledging that he won't be traded next year.

Samson told the Post he is optimistic about finding the final $30 million the Marlins need for a $380 million ballpark, but said it can't be finalized until the Florida Legislature convenes in the spring.

"We hope to secure the final piece from the state in the next legislative session," Samson said.

Asked by the radio station about the positive message his return would send to fans, Lowell said, "It also says that they believe a stadium issue is something that can be attained because doing this, and obviously taking on a little bit more salary, is somewhat tied to [the presumption that] expected revenue is going to increase, and I've got to believe that's through a stadium."