Astros infielder Jed Lowrie, who’s been out since April with a torn thumb ligament, is off the disabled list and back in the starting lineup … at third base.
At the time of the injury Lowrie was Houston’s starting shortstop, but since then stud prospect Carlos Correa has taken over the position for the next decade or so. When the Astros signed Lowrie to a three-year, $23 million deal this offseason they did so knowing Correa was nearly MLB-ready, so the move to third base was expected.
Luis Valbuena has been the Astros’ primary third baseman and he’s provided good power with 19 homers in 85 games, but that comes with a lowly .200 batting average and .698 OPS. Lowrie was off to a great start before the injury and is a career .262 hitter with a .748 OPS.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.