The AL All-Star ballots: Ellsbury and Hamilton fighting for the start

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The final update in AL All-Star balloting before the starters are announced on Sunday is in, and it breaks down as follows, which is how it has broken down, more or less, for the past few weeks:

C: Russell Martin
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
OF: Jose Bautista
OF: Curtis Granderson
OF: Josh Hamilton
DH: David Ortiz

The only position with any real up-in-the-air to it is that last outfield slot, which Hamilton holds over Jacoby Ellsbury by around 120,000 votes.  And for the record, Asdrubal Cabrera holds on to second place at short, which could be notable in the event that Derek Jeter is either not yet back from his calf injury or if he’s held out of the All-Star Game as a precaution.

Report: Rays sign Brandon Lowe to six-year, $24 million contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Rays and infielder Brandon Lowe have agreed on a six-year, $24 million contract extension. Lowe has just 58 days of service time, so this will cover his three years of pre-arbitration as well as three arbitration years.

Lowe, 24, earned a promotion to the majors in early August last year, playing mostly at second base but also logging time in both outfield corners. Through the end of the season, he hit .233/.324/.450 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 148 plate appearances. Lowe also performed well this spring, batting .359/.405/.692 with a pair of homers and 14 RBI in 39 at-bats.

MLB Pipeline rates lowe as the No. 10 prospect in the Rays’ system. He is in line to see regular starts at second base, but the Rays will certainly be keen to utilize his versatility throughout the year.