Rays place Brandon Lowe on injured list, call up Vidal Brujan

The second baseman “felt something” in his back during the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader and was unable to get loosened up.
Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) throws to first base to complete a putout during a game against the Brewers last month at Tropicana Field.
Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) throws to first base to complete a putout during a game against the Brewers last month at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published June 5|Updated June 6

BOSTON — With Brandon Lowe’s back hurting again, the Rays decided the most prudent move was to give him some time off now in hopes of getting him back healthy sooner.

The Rays won’t know for another day or two exactly what caused Lowe’s back to lock up Saturday. With the team headed home Monday night, he will undergo further evaluation from team doctors and likely imaging.

But manager Kevin Cash said the Rays are confident it is not a recurrence of the lower back stress reaction that bothered and sidelined Lowe for much of last season. That alone gives them optimism he won’t be out long.

“Look, he’s sore,” Cash said. “He might have been marginally better (Monday), but just felt like with the back being an issue — I do think this is a different issue than what we saw last year — that we want to be smart.”

Lowe was clearly frustrated while discussing the situation with reporters on Sunday and remained so Monday after the Rays placed him on the 10-day injured list. They called up infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan to take his place.

“He’s frustrated, there’s no doubt,” Cash said. “But I think before he gets too frustrated, let’s see if a couple of days of rest can get it back to feeling better and we don’t miss him for too much time.”

Lowe has struggled much of the season, hitting .199 with nine homers (but only two since April 28), 29 RBIs, 63 strikeouts (a 31.3% rate) and a .686 OPS. He also was involved in two misplays on pop flies during the road trip.

Brujan, who can play pretty much anywhere on the field and has good speed, was called up for the third time this season. He started at second base and made two good defensive plays but went 0-for-4 at the plate.

More medical matters

Shortstop Wander Franco returned to the lineup after sitting out two games due to left hamstring soreness. He went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games, though Cash said he is not 100%. “It’s just something he’s going to have to manage a little bit, no doubt,” Cash said. “So if he’s not running 110 mph down to first base, let’s let it slide and get over it.” … Cash said he hadn’t gotten an update on centerfielder Jose Siri, scratched from Sunday’s lineup due to right shoulder discomfort and out again Monday, “so I’m guessing he’s good.” … An update on lefty Josh Fleming, and official placement on the injured list due to a left elbow issue, is expected in the next day or two after he sees team doctors. … Reliever Zack Littell, out since May 24 with right shoulder fatigue, is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday and make several appearances.


The Rays went without a homer for a season-high fourth straight game, though the cold temperatures, damp conditions and gusty winds were factors. ... In taking three of four, the Rays are now 7-1 against the Red Sox, who they don’t see again until Sept. 4. .... Infielder Taylor Walls went 0-for-the-roadtrip, hitless in 18 at-bats. ... Jason Adam had a welcomed 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save. ... Rays pitchers allowed two or fewer runs for the MLB-most 27th time. .... Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected in the eighth. ... Durham right-hander Evan McKendry was named pitcher of the month for the Triple-A International League and the Rays organization after going 3-0 with a 0.31 ERA. High-A Bowling Green first baseman Bobby Seymour won top organization player honors after hitting .366 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.016 OPS.

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