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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.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.