Giants pick Ryan Vogelsong over Tim Lincecum for Game 3

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The Giants unleashed a curveball Sunday, announcing that Ryan Vogelgong would get the nod in Game 3 against the Reds over Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.

This makes it possible that Lincecum will never pitch in the NLDS, as the Giants could well go to Matt Cain on three days’ rest if they extend the series to a Game 4. Cain threw just 75 pitches in  Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati.

Vogelsong struggled mightily in August and early September, but he bounced back at the end, allowing three runs — one earned — over 17 innings in his final three starts to finish the season 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA.

Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, struggled throughout 2012, finishing 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA. He won three in a row to begin September, but he gave up 12 runs — 11 earned — and four homers in his last two starts. In his only previous postseason, he went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA for the world champs in 2010.

Zito also had a case for the Game 3 start, given that the Giants won each of his final 11 regular-season starts. He ended the year 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA.

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.