Daily Distractions: Dodgers sign Mark Lowe; Hanley Ramirez hurt (briefly); NL West rumblings.

Mark Lowe

Mark Lowe is, in many ways, a typical spring training reclamation project. The 29-year-old’s fastball was once clocked at 101 mph, but now sits in the low 90s. He is a veteran of parts of seven major-league seasons and two surgeries: Elbow microfracture (2006) and back microdisectomy (2010). He’s also a Type 1 diabetic.

Now, Lowe is the newest Dodger courtesy of a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the deal, which would pay $1.5 million in base salary if Lowe makes the team.

Unlike most reclamation projects, Lowe was pitching effectively at the major-league level last season. He allowed only eight runs in his first 31 appearances for the Rangers but faded in September, allowing earned runs in four of five appearances (18.90 ERA). He was sidelined for six weeks at midseason with a strained intercostal muscle in his ribcage after throwing a career-high three innings in one game.

The right-hander is not a complete longshot to make the team, but he’ll have to prove he belongs in a crowded Dodgers bullpen. More on that later.

Some links to send you into the weekend:

• If you didn’t stay up until 1:45 a.m. to watch Mexico beat the Dominican Republic in 18 innings, you missed a heart-stopping Hanley Ramirez moment. It wasn’t a good one. Ramirez reached base on a bunt attempt in the 13th inning, then slid awkwardly into second base and had to be helped off the field by teammates. Ramirez, the DH in the game, batted in turn in the 16th and reached base on a forceout, using his speed to thwart a potential double play. He looked fine (on a grainy internet feed). Ramirez went 1-for-8 in the game and batted .156 in the tournament. Dodgers minor leaguer Alfredo Amezaga went 0-for-8 and batted .212 overall for Mexico.

• NL West news: When their World Series run(s) start to drag you down, just remember: The Giants are inviting an accused murderer to their camp.

• NL West news, part 2: Troy Tulowitzki is on the mend.

• NL West news, part 3: Aaron Hill signed a three-year, $35 million contract extension to remain in Arizona. Hill was set to be a free agent after this season. The timing may be questionable but Hill’s value as a power-hitting second baseman is not.

• Starting (later) today, I attempt to break down every camp battle by position (relief pitcher, starting pitcher, catcher, infield, outfield). There may be unintentional omissions. In that case, feel free to spam me with this fantastic MGMT song.

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