“Oft-injured” was used to describe Jed Lowrie for most of his Red Sox career and now his Astros career will be delayed by, you guessed it, an injury.
Lowrie hurt his thumb diving back into second base on March 28, getting upset at Marlins infielder Omar Infante for blocking the bag, and Houston has placed him on the disabled list.
X-rays and an MRI exam both showed no ligament damage, but he hasn’t been able to grip a bat and given his health history the Astros have decided to be cautious with their new starting shortstop.
Lowrie never played more than 88 games for the Red Sox and his latest DL stint means Brian Bixler will make the Opening Day roster.
Mark Melancon, whom the Red Sox acquired in the deal for Lowrie, took the loss in yesterday’s game against the Tigers and then afterward complained about manager Bobby Valentine’s quick hook.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.