Friday, March 8, 2013
Derek Lowe prepared to get his feet wet
By Ron Matejko
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Newly-acquired free agent pitcher Derek Lowe is expected to work out in front of Texas Rangers staff Friday so they can assess his physical condition and develop a plan to prepare him for Cactus League action.
How much the team is able to work him out may be somewhat determined by Mother Nature, as a steady rain has been falling in the area all morning and may ultimately lead to the cancellation of today's game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Ballpark.
"He's been throwing," manager Ron Washington said. "As far as where he is, we have to wait until he gets here and we see him and he starts throwing. If he is ready, we will get him in some live (batting practice) and then get him into some games."
Lowe will compete for one of the six undetermined bullpen jobs, as only closer Joe Nathan has been guaranteed a role entering camp. Lowe had pitched exclusively as a starter since 2001 until joining the Yankees as a reliever for the second half of the 2012 season.
The 16-year MLB veteran overcame a sluggish start where he was used sparingly and pitched well during September to help the Yankees win a tight AL East battle. Lowe only allowed two earned runs in 14 2/3 innings during his final nine appearances of the season. That late surge was enough to earn him a previously improbable postseason roster spot. In 17 overall regular season appearances with New York, Lowe was 1-1 with a 3.01 ERA.
"He's been in the bullpen before and had success," Washington said.
If Lowe is even somewhat effective, the right-hander figures to earn a spot in the Rangers bullpen, possibly for long relief or even a spot start. Lefty relievers have proven more effective than righties during the early portions of the spring. Washington would welcome another option from the right side, even though he said the lefty vs. righty ratio in the bullpen will not affect the final composition of his relief corps.
Another factor will be the competition for the fifth starter job, since the pitchers who are unable to claim that gig will also become candidates to join the bullpen.
During his career, Lowe has compiled a record of 175-157 with a 4.00 ERA and 1,714 strikeouts. He also owns 86 career saves.