9:00 p.m. EDT: Lester left Tuesday’s game with a strained left lat muscle. The Red Sox didn’t even try calling him day-to-day, so it sounds like he’ll be placed on the DL on Wednesday. Michael Bowden could be called up to help out of the pen until a fifth starter is needed.
8:45 p.m. EDT: The Red Sox have gone an unusually long time without any update on Lester’s condition, which doesn’t seem like very good news. Plus, Jose Bautista just broke up the Lester-Albers combined no-hitter that lasted 5 2/3 innings.
No word yet on what might be wrong, but Jon Lester was just removed from his start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday after throwing four hitless innings.
Lester showed no sign of injury on his final pitch of the fourth, a cutter that caught Adam Lind looking. The Red Sox, however, got Matt Albers up in the bottom of the inning and brought him in to replace Lester in the top of the fifth.
Lester, who wasn’t picked for next week’s All-Star Game, is 10-4 with a 3.43 ERA this season. He left with a 3-0 lead tonight, but since he didn’t go five, he’ll be ineligible for the victory.
If Lester joins rotation mates Clay Buchholz (back) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) on the DL, the Red Sox could pull Alfredo Aceves out of the bullpen to replace him. Alternatively, they have Kevin Millwood in Triple-A. Since a poor debut with Pawtucket, he has a 3.47 ERA and a 33/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.