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Surgery helping Mark Lowe finish better

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers reliever Mark Lowe credits his back surgery for enabling him to finish his pitches better, resulting in more consistent command.

"I have more flexibility in my hamstrings and back and I'm able to follow through more than I have," Lowe said. "I can get out further and that's helped my control."

Lowe pitched in Thursday's intrasquad game and was at 92-93 mph with his fastball. He's still building up his arm, so those numbers should only go up. Lowe is throwing his fastball, slider and changeup and is seeing progress with all of them.

"I'm happy with where I'm at," Lowe said. "I feel good and I'm getting better each time out."

Lowe is preparing for whatever role the club needs in 2011. He's a hard-throwing right-hander who can set up for closer Neftali Feliz, but is also a candidate to close if Feliz moves into the rotation. Lowe said he believes he can close and notes that he's filled in for closers when they haven't been available in the past. He was 3-for-3 in save opportunities in 2009.

"I think I know how to deal with failure well and deal with success at the same time," Lowe said. "You have to let it go if you have a bad outing and come back and go do it again. I was a setup guy in '09 and I'd have a good month or two and a bad stretch of couple of weeks. You have to grind through it."

Lowe said the eighth inning is tough, but knows it doesn't quite compare to the ninth.

"The final three outs are the toughest," Lowe said. "The pressure is high and there's a different feeling. But it's also exciting."