How will Mike Lowell do in Sox camp?

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Rob Bradford of WEEI checks in from Fort Myers where he spoke with Theo Epstein about the awkwardness that will be the Mike-Lowell-in-camp dynamic:

“I don’t know that it will be that dicey. As I’ve said, it’s one of
those things that will take care of itself. Mike’s priority is our
priority, which is to get him healthy. Until that happens, there’s
really not much that can be done. He’s going to be a little bit behind
everybody else because of the surgery he had. we’re going to do
everything we can to help get him healthy. Once he gets healthy, it
will take care of itself. If he’s really impressive and impressive to
other clubs, maybe something can be worked out. If not, I’m sure
there’s nowhere else where Mike would rather take a bit of a lesser
role than here.”

That’s about as honest as an assessment as you’ll hear from a GM. Most of the time in such situations you’ll hear the front office say “we think Mike Lowell will be a big contributor, etc, etc.,” even if it’s not plausible. Maybe so that the player’s ego isn’t bruised, maybe because they think that by doing so it will make the guy a more attractive trade target.  It seems, however, that Lowell and Theo and are going to be spending this spring openly and honestly shopping the guy.

Not that it’s completely honest. Because really, does anyone think that the Red Sox want to keep Lowell on the team, riding the pine, making $12 million to be a utility guy who can’t play up the middle?  I don’t, and if the Sox can’t find a trading partner I’d be shocked if they didn’t simply cut Lowell in the interests of a more flexible bench.  I mean, its not like they’re not going to be paying most of his salary even if they trade him.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.