SURPRISE, Ariz. – Mark Lowe says he needs all six weeks of spring training to get ready for the regular season.
The problem is the right-handed reliever doesn’t appear to be making any progress.
Lowe’s spring ERA has soared to 14.14 after back-to-back bad outings this week. He allowed totals of eight runs on eight hits and three walks in one-inning appearances against the Rockies and Indians.
“He’s just got his work cut out for him,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’re going to give him the ball every chance we get down here and hope it gets better.”
Health isn’t an issue for Lowe, who missed most of last season due to back problems that were surgically repaired. He’s throwing in the mid- to high 90s. He’s struggling with location and is working on a curveball with pitching coach Mike Maddux, a pitch Lowe used in a game for the first time Friday night.
But there is little reason at this point to believe that the Rangers can rely on Lowe, who folks in Texas know as the guy who had a 67.50 ERA in two World Series appearances.
That’s a problem. When the Rangers acquired Lowe in the Cliff Lee deal, they planned on him being a set-up man this season. That plan hadn’t changed entering the spring.
Washington won’t say if it’s changed now – his answer was that the question is meaningless if Lowe pitches well his next few outings – but the Rangers have to at least be considering a less important role for Lowe.