SURPRISE, Ariz -- Derek Lowe will be on the mound for the first time this spring when the Rangers face the Giants on Friday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lowe was signed to a Minor League contract last week and has thrown three times on the side since arriving on Friday. He is scheduled to throw 35 pitches over two innings.
"What's tough is I have to go out and make the team, so there is no way of easing into it," Lowe said. "At some point I have to pitch in a game. I've had three productive side sessions, so I'm ready to go. I started throwing in the middle of December and I've been working out in the gym. I may have missed about 10 innings not being here from the beginning. Now I have to get out there and earn a spot. I'm excited. It's like being a rookie."
Lowe, who has pitched both as a starter and a reliever in his 16-year career, is competing for a spot in the bullpen. The opportunity is there because some of the leading right-handed setup candidates have not seized a role.
Besides Lowe, Joe Nathan and Jason Frasor, the Rangers have seven right-handed relief candidates who have Major League experience: Josh Lindblom, Evan Meek, Tanner Scheppers, Yoshinori Tateyama, Justin Grimm, Colin Balester and Cory Burns. Those seven had a combined ERA of 9.82 going into Thursday's game against the Athletics, with opponents hitting .358 off them.
Texas' most effective right-handed relievers have been Johan Yan and Coty Woods. Yan has pitched five innings and not allowed a hit. He has walked one and struck out six. Woods, who is a Rule 5 Draft pick from Colorado, has a 1.69 ERA.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less