Derek Lowe looking to seize opportunity

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Lowe will make his Texas Rangers debut today when he gets the start against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium.

With 377 career starts under his belt during his 16-year major league career, Lowe is used to coming out to start a game. But Friday won't be a typical start.

"You're technically starting the game, but you aren't going as far into it as you normally would," said Lowe, who is scheduled to throw two innings. "I've always had the mentality of trying to use every spring training game as if it were a regular season game, so I'm going to go out there and pitch no differently than I would if it were during the season."

Lowe was signed as a free agent to a minor-league contract on March 6. Since his arrival in camp, the 39-year old has ramped up to this appearance by throwing in the bullpen and live batting practice.

He was brought into camp to compete for a spot in the bullpen. So far this spring, the more dominant performances have come from left-handed relievers. Lowe could provide an option from the right side, as manager Ron Washington said he sees the veteran as a pitcher who could be used to retire one batter or throw multiple innings. He will not, however, be stretched out as a starter.

"He's been throwing live BP and bullpens and looked good," Washington said. "Now we get a chance to see him face some hitters live, so we'll just see what he has to offer for two innings. Knowing his history, he'll get through his innings."

Lowe threw out of the bullpen for the second half of the season in 2012 when he joined the New York Yankees. He was used as a reliever in Boston for five seasons early in his career, but had not done so for 10 years until he was asked to do so last season. Lowe is getting a bit of a late start in his quest to make the Rangers' major league roster, but with two weeks of camp remaining the late start is better than not playing at all.

"It's March 15th. Obviously you don't really have much room for error, but I look forward to it," Lowe said. "Nine days ago I was home taking my kids to school. It's an opportunity that presented itself and I'm going to try and take advantage of it."

Other game notes:

  • Some of the Rangers will fly out of Phoenix shortly after the conclusion of today's game and head to Las Vegas for a pair of split-squad affairs this weekend against the Chicago Cubs. This is the second consecutive season Texas is making the trek to Sin City. Texas will also play a split-squad game at home Saturday and another in Peoria on Sunday.

  • Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz scored the winning run in the ninth inning of the Dominican Republic's 3-1 win over Team USA on Thursday night. Texas infielder Leury Garcia is also on the Dominican roster.

  • Texas has carried a bigger roster than usual during spring training due to losing players to the World Baseball Classic and the need for bodies during the split-squad games in Las Vegas. The team figures to make roster moves to reduce that number after the weekend.

  • Jeff Baker currently leads the major leagues with a .528 batting average and 19 hits. His .564 on-base percentage tops the Cactus League.

  • Lance Berkman has eight walks, tying him for the most in the Cactus League, despite playing in just 10 of the Rangers' 19 spring games.

  • Three Rangers pitched for Round Rock (AAA) in a minor-league game yesterday. Jason Frasor got the start and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Joe Nathan and Evan Meek both pitched a scoreless inning with one strikeout.

  • Friday marks the second of two meetings between Texas and San Francisco this spring. The Giants won the first matchup, 2-1, on Monday at Surprise Stadium.