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.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.