The Rays announced they’ve placed second baseman Brandon Lowe on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to September 12, with lower back discomfort. Backstop René Pinto was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take the open active roster spot.
It’s the third IL stint of what has to be a frustrating season for Lowe. He suffered a stress reaction in his lower back in mid-May, an injury that required a multi-week shutdown and two-month absence. He returned in mid-July but went back on the shelf with a calf contusion in late August. That second stint proved brief, as Lowe was reinstated after a minimal 10-day absence last week, but he’s now again headed back to the injured list.
The Rays haven’t indicated how long they anticipate Lowe being out of action, but it’s an ill-timed absence as the end of the regular season nears. Tampa Bay trails the Yankees by 5 1/2 games in the AL East and is unlikely to capture the division title, but they’re battling for Wild Card position. The Rays, Mariners and Blue Jays occupy the AL’s three Wild Card spots and are all within half a game of one another. With a 5 1/2 cushion over the nearest non-playoff team, the Orioles, it seems likely all three will make it to the postseason. Securing the top Wild Card spot entitles a team to home-field advantage in the first-round playoff series, with all three games (if necessary) taking place at the higher seed’s ballpark.
Tampa Bay’s efforts to secure that position will be dealt a blow with Lowe again hitting the shelf. Isaac Paredes, Jonathan Aranda and Taylor Walls look like the top candidates to step in at the keystone, with the club losing some infield depth yesterday when Yu Chang was nabbed off waivers by the Red Sox. Lowe isn’t having his best season, but his .221/.308/.383 line still checks in a hair above league average by measure of wRC+.