Bruce Chen is in “constant pain”

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Bruce Chen has been scratched from today’s scheduled start and may not be able to pitch this weekend either because of a swollen disk in his back that has the Royals left-hander in what he described as “constant pain.”

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the swollen disk is pressing against nerves and causing “pain shooting down his leg.” He received an epidural injection to ease the swelling.

McCullough writes that “Chen has been managing this condition for weeks,” which helps explain his 7.45 ERA in four starts after the Royals re-signed the 37-year-old to a two-year contract this offseason.

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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.