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Healthy again, Rays' Brandon Lowe has a lot to play for

Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Baseball

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The pain from Brandon Lowe’s back injuries and broken right kneecap has long subsided.

But a sting remains.

Being limited to 174 games over the past two seasons, while also having his production hampered at times when he did play, understandably has caused ample frustration.

“The numbers have been there every single time that I am on the field,” Lowe said. “So the biggest thing I guess now is to figure out what I’ve got to do to make sure that … I’m out there available for 162 (games), and make the decision tough on (manager Kevin Cash) whether he plays me or not.”

The missed time — as a result of a stress reaction (a precursor to a stress fracture) in his lower back in 2022, followed by back inflammation and the freak result of a foul ball off his knee last season — also plays into a question about Lowe’s future.

The lefty slugger is heading into the final guaranteed season of the six-year, $24 million deal he signed during spring training 2019, making a team position player-high $8.75 million this season (and $23 million total), which means the Rays will decide what comes next.

 

They hold an option for 2025, either paying him $10.5 million to stay, or giving him a $1 million buyout and a push into free agency. The Rays also hold another option for 2026 at $11.5 million, or a $500,000 buyout.

Lowe, who turns 30 in July, said he plans to focus on what he can somewhat control — staying healthy and putting up big numbers as he did in 2020-21 — and not worry about what he can’t, banking that it leads to the chance to stay with the only team he’s known.

“I’ll do what I can,” Lowe said. “But, I mean, it’s out of my hands. It’s their option, it’s not my option. So if they want to pick it up, they pick it up. If they don’t, I don’t know.

“It’s a thing that, hopefully, I put myself in a good enough position to where it’s a no-brainer. But I’m going to focus on being healthy and being out there on the field.”

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