Rangers sign veteran Derek Lowe

The Texas Rangers have signed veteran right-hander Derek Lowe to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

With the club's injury situation and relative lack of depth, Lowe seems likely to make the Rangers as a bullpen piece, though he does have the versatility to start if they decide to give him a shot at the fifth spot in the rotation until Colby Lewis (forearm) returns.

Lowe will make $1.25 million if he's in the majors and could earn more in incentives. He's expected to join the club in Surprise, Ariz., on Friday.

Lowe, 39, spent 2012 with the Cleveland Indians as a starter before joining the New York Yankees' bullpen. He was 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts with Cleveland and then sported a 3.04 ERA in 23 2/3 innings of relief for the Yankees. Lowe has been primarily a starter since 2001.

The Rangers continue to work through how they will line up the bullpen ahead of closer Joe Nathan. Lowe could slot into long relief, maybe even as a middle-innings reliever. But if they choose to stretch out Lowe, he also could help them as a fifth starter if the club deems it needs him.

Martin Perez was having a strong camp until he broke a bone in his forearm. Robbie Ross and Randy Wells have pitched the best in spring training of the internal candidates, but nothing has been decided.

Lowe has a career mark of 175-157 with a 4.00 ERA and 86 saves in 672 games (377 of them starts) for Seattle, Boston, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta, Cleveland and the Yankees. He is one of just three pitchers in big league history with at least 160 wins and 80 saves (John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley are the others).