Lowe to start on Opening Day for Braves

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Derek Lowe, the pitcher the Braves were hoping to move in the offseason before parting with Javier Vazquez instead, was named the Opening Day starter by manager Bobby Cox on Sunday.
“He was our winningest pitcher,” Cox said. “Last year against Philadelphia [Opening Day] he pitched eight shutout innings and gave up two hits. And he’s a veteran.”
Lowe did finish 15-10 last year, but it came with a 4.67 ERA. No. 2 starter Jair Jurrjens, who might have been considered for the opening assignment if not for a shoulder injury that’s limited him in camp, went 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA.
Cox also said that Tommy Hanson would start the third game of the season ahead of Tim Hudson. Lowe is expected to be brought back for the fifth game, with Kenshin Kawakami drawing the nod in the sixth game of the season.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.