The Rays have their latest reclamation project, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the club has signed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league contract. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.
Lowe, 30, posted a 9.26 ERA over 11 appearances with the Angels this season before he was given his release his June. He latched on with the Nationals from there, but pitched exclusively with Triple-A Syracuse before he opted out of his contract after being passed over for a September call-up.
Lowe compiled a 3.60 ERA over 177 appearances between the Mariners and Rangers from 2009-2012, so there’s rebound potential here. The Rays have earned the benefit of the doubt at this point, so it would probably be more surprising if he didn’t end up being a contributor in 2014.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.