Are the Red Sox showcasing Mike Lowell or giving him a job?

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Thumbnail image for Mike Lowell headshot.jpgMike Lowell was 2 for 4 with a solo homer, a walk and an RBI single in place of the slumping David Ortiz last night.  And he’s going to get the start again tonight.

Yesterday I mentioned the Red Sox killing three birds with one stone.  Lowell’s hot bat and presence in the lineup against the Rangers is definitely a two-stone job: it gives the team some DH production which was previously absent and it shows the Rangers that the guy they once wanted is healthy and hitting.

I’m not sure that Max Ramirez is still any kind of answer for the Red Sox — that proposed trade was a long time ago and the needs of each team is now different — but you have to wonder if the Rangers (or someone else for that matter) aren’t taking a second look at Mike Lowell.  Texas’ catching situation is a mess, but from chaos often springs opportunity.

That is, if the Red Sox feel that they can afford to give him up. Because if he keeps hitting, he may just take the DH job away from Big Papi.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.