Rays sign reliever Mark Lowe to minor league contract

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The Rays have their latest reclamation project, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the club has signed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Lowe, 30, posted a 9.26 ERA over 11 appearances with the Angels this season before he was given his release his June. He latched on with the Nationals from there, but pitched exclusively with Triple-A Syracuse before he opted out of his contract after being passed over for a September call-up.

Lowe compiled a 3.60 ERA over 177 appearances between the Mariners and Rangers from 2009-2012, so there’s rebound potential here. The Rays have earned the benefit of the doubt at this point, so it would probably be more surprising if he didn’t end up being a contributor in 2014.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.