KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Derek Lowe could only stare at his foot in disbelief. Longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox said he had never seen anything like it.
Lowe was hampered Wednesday by a blister on his right foot, forcing him out of Atlanta's 7-6 victory over the New York Mets after just one inning.Lowe said the recurring blister on his push-off foot popped with Daniel Murphy at the plate, after he had faced two batters. He tried to hang in there but he told Cox he couldn't go another inning after yielding three runs and five hits in the first."It looked like the blister exploded," Cox said. "I've seen some things but nothing like that."Cox said Lowe may miss a start, but the right-hander is hoping to remain on schedule as he prepares to pitch on opening day, while trying to make sure the blisters aren't a regular problem."It just popped and you can look at it and see," Lowe said, pointing to his foot. "That was a wasted day. I only got in three pitches before I couldn't push off anymore."Lowe and Cox said they knew something was wrong when they looked up at the scoreboard and saw Lowe was barely breaking 80 mph on the radar gun."He's a tough guy," Cox said. "He's the ace of this staff so he has to be tough. I don't want him to miss any starts, but he'll be ready, let's hope, by opening day."Jonathon Niese, trying to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation, allowed three runs and three hits in two innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out none."I don't think we are ready to eliminate him or anyone else," manager Jerry Manuel said of the competition for the starting job. "It will all come down to who can come up with wins for us."Jesus Sucre's RBI single in the 10th inning gave Atlanta the win. Chipper Jones also had a two-run double in the fourth for the Braves.Chris Carter homered and drove in four runs for the Mets.