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March 07, 2013

Rangers curious to see Derek Lowe's progress

Derek Lowe will be in Texas Rangers big-league camp today, apparently ready to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster even though he has yet to set foot on a field this spring.

He’s been throwing and working out for a chance to play in 2013, but the first order for Rangers coaches today is to see just how ready Lowe is. Then, they’ll get a feel for how he might be used.

The Rangers have assured him of only a chance to compete for a spot in the bullpen, an area that is hardly foreign territory for the former All-Star closer. But with the exception of the final two months of 2012, Lowe has been starter for the past 11 seasons.

The Rangers having openings in both roles, and in past seasons have needed a pitcher who can work in long relief and also make an occasional spot start. Lowe could be that guy.

“The first role we have for him is to get him out here and see if he’s ready,” Washington said Thursday. “I think he’ll create a role if he makes a club. Right now, we want to see where he is and what he’s capable of doing.”

Lowe, 39, agreed to a minor-league contract Wednesday night that could pay him as much as $1.7 million if he makes the big-league roster and meets all of his incentives. He’s a groundball pitcher who fared well (1-1, 3.04 ERA) as a Yankees reliever last year.

He also provide versatility in case a starter needs to be skipped or just isn’t performing.

“It’s always valuable to have a guy like that,” Washington said.

-- Jeff Wilson



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