Astros “have been pursuing” free agent Jed Lowrie

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Two offseasons ago the Astros traded Jed Lowrie to the A’s for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Max Stassi, and now they’re apparently interested in re-signing him as a free agent.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that “multiple sources say the Astros have been pursuing” Lowrie, who was not given a qualifying offer by the A’s and has no draft pick compensation attached to his free agency.

Lowrie had a breakout season with the A’s in 2013, but his OPS dropped more than 100 points this year and the 30-year-old’s defense at shortstop also came into question. However, it wouldn’t be hard for him to provide an upgrade over Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar at shortstop in Houston and he’d keep the position warm for stud prospect Carlos Correa’s eventual arrival.

Lowrie played just one season for the Astros after they acquired him from the Red Sox, hitting .244 with 16 homers and a .769 OPS in 97 games in 2012.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The players association said Wednesday night it was dismayed by the length of the ban.

“While we understand the concerns raised by the league with respect to a bench-clearing incident during this challenging season, we’re disappointed by the decision,” the union said. “It was an unfair result for Joe Kelly given the cases presented.”

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty that was first reported by Barstool Sports.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.