Mark Lowe seeing progress with slider

Rangers manager Ron Washington kept talking about his bullpen the past few days and how, despite some remaining issues, certain guys may be figuring things out.

Washington includes Mark Lowe in that category. That might seem odd after Lowe allowed three runs in one inning of work in New York. But Lowe was back out on the mound, this time in a tight game Saturday in Atlanta, and got through one inning with three strikeouts and one walk on 18 pitches.

He threw his fastball as high as 98 mph, but that's not surprising. Velocity hasn't been the problem. Lowe just hasn't had enough movement.

"That's why I need my slider," Lowe said. "It's a lot better."

That slider was very effective against hitters from both sides of the plate in Atlanta. Lowe credits bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, who noticed after that rough outing in New York that Lowe was keeping his hand in his glove too long as he started his delivery.

"It may not sound like much, but that little tweak makes a big difference," Lowe said. "I have to keep working at it, but I'm seeing the signs that it's getting there."

It would be very big for the Rangers if Lowe can find some consistency. They are still looking for a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher to trust in the eighth inning, and Lowe is the logical internal choice if he can be effective.