Jed Lowrie, out since April with a torn thumb ligament, finally cleared to play rehab games

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MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that Astros infielder Jed Lowrie has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday evening with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.

Lowrie has been on the disabled list since suffering a ligament tear in his right (throwing-side) thumb back in late April. That thumb injury required surgery and Lowrie was given a three-month recovery timetable, which is going to prove to be pretty accurate.

Carlos Correa has taken over at shortstop for the Astros and obviously won’t be moving anywhere, so Lowrie’s playing time down the stretch will come primarily at the hot corner and as an off-the-bench bat.

Lowrie is a switch-hitter and Houston’s starting third baseman, Luis Valbuena, hits left-handed.

Lowrie was slashing .300/.432/.567 with four home runs and 10 RBI through his first 18 games this year for the Astros. He’ll be a nice weapon in whatever role over the final two months of regular-season play.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.