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Rays shut down Brandon Lowe for remainder of 2019

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Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe was on track to return to the team after recently beginning a rehab assignment in the minor leagues, working his way back from a right shin contusion suffered in early July. Unfortunately, he suffered a new injury — a strained left quad — and will miss the remainder of the season, MLB.com’s Zachary Silver reports.

Lowe, 25, had a breakout first half for the Rays, which earned him an All-Star nomination. Through 76 games, he hit .276/.339/.523 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI across 307 plate appearances. While Lowe mostly played second base, he also spent a little bit of time in the outfield corners as well as first base.

Eric Sogard and Michael Brosseau have been splitting time at second base in Lowe’s absence. The 74-54 Rays are nine games out of first place in the AL East but are very much in the mix for the Wild Card, currently tied with the Athletics for the second slot, a half-game behind the Indians for the first slot.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.