Lowe gives Rangers hope in bullpen

Lowe gives Rangers hope in bullpen

Lowe gives Rangers hope in bullpen
HOUSTON -- Mark Lowe threw three pitches on Wednesday, and the two fastballs were clocked at 97 mph. Neftali Feliz topped out at 96 mph in the ninth inning. That shouldn't be surprising. Lowe's fastball has averaged 96.5 mph this season, while Feliz is at 95.6.

"Obviously based on the beginning of the year, velocity is not everything," Lowe said. "But it's nice to know. I have felt good all year. I worked hard all offseason to get that back."

Lowe, who had back surgery 13 months ago, is 2-1 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 games this season. He has a 2.82 ERA since returning from a 16-day stay at Triple-A Round Rock on May 4, and he has a 1.30 ERA in his past seven games since allowing two home runs against the Yankees on June 15. In seven innings, he has allowed three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts.

Lowe has taken a little pressure off the Rangers in their relentless search for bullpen help. Texas is still talking to other clubs about relievers, but in the near future, it could have Darren O'Day back off the disabled list and matched with Lowe as their right-handed setup relievers.

"I have been really encouraged by Mark Lowe the past week ... he looks good," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Darren Oliver looks good. If we can get O'Day mixed in with those guys and that can come together, that would be more of what we really need."

Lowe knows that the Rangers have been active in looking for relief help.

"Nothing that goes on around the team is going to change the way I go about my business," Lowe said. "I have a certain agenda every day and the same frame of mind: take the ball and get the job done what the manager asks me to do."