Tigers, Braves discussing trade involving Derek Lowe?

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The Braves have a six-game lead in the National League Wild Card and trail the Phillies by only three games in the National League East, but they may be open to dealing a prominent member of their starting rotation before the July 31 trade deadline.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Tigers have approached the Braves about acquiring veteran right-hander Derek Lowe. And Atlanta’s front office may be ready to listen.

The Braves have one of the top rotations in the majors and possess great pitching depth in the minor leagues. They can get rid of Lowe, who has registered an underwhelming 4.30 ERA in 20 starts this season, and get equal — if not better — production from Julio Teheran or Mike Minor down the stretch.

Atlanta’s preference is to acquire a major league-ready right-hitting outfielder by the deadline, but Morosi says the organization may be content with dumping salary and netting young talent in a deal involving Lowe.

Lowe, 38, is making a whopping $15 million this season and is owed another $15 million in 2012.

Rene Rivera out 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery

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Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.

Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.

In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.