Carl Crawford almost ready to begin facing live pitching

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An update here on the Dodgers’ Carl Crawford.

According to beat writer Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Crawford is throwing at a distance of 90 feet and taking regular swings off a tee at the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Arizona without any pain or discomfort in his surgically-repaired left elbow.

Crawford hopes to begin facing live pitching within the next couple of days and told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in camp that he is “confident” he will be ready for the beginning of the 2013 regular season.

Crawford has batted just .260/.292/.419 with 14 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 75 RBI in 664 plate appearances since signing a seven-year, $142 million free agent contract with the Red Sox before the start of the 2011 campaign. The 31-year-old outfielder was traded to Los Angeles last summer.

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.