Freshly designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians, 39-year-old right-hander Derek Lowe says he is returning to his Fort Myers, Fla. home to work with his long time personal trainer, Chris Correnti, who worked with the sinkerballer and Pedro Martinez when all three were with the Boston Red Sox.
Lowe told the Boston Globe that he would welcome a return to the Red Sox, which might be in need for a starting pitcher since Josh Beckett is dealing with back spasms and Aaron Cook has served up 12 runs over 8.2 innings spanning his last two outings.
Baltimore Sun baseball writer Dan Connolly wrote that the Orioles are a potential destination for Lowe, too.
At first glance, Lowe’s 2012 numbers are atrocious. He is 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 21 starts, and he has surrendered 156 hits and a .321 batting average against in 119 innings. In his final start for Cleveland on Tuesday, Lowe permitted seven runs, eight hits, two walks and a balk in 2.1 innings.
On a positive note, Lowe opened the season with a 6-1 record and a 2.05 ERA, and he is still inducing a lot of ground balls with his sinker.
Cleveland, which is fading from wild card contention, replaced Lowe on its active roster with 26-year-old right-hander Corey Kluber.
If Lowe is claimed by the Red Sox, and the Indians let him walk away or they work out a deal with Boston, he will return to the organization for whom he played a pivotal role in the 2004 post-season. He was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in the ALCS against the Yankees and tossed a shutout over seven innings, getting a win in the World Series over the Cardinals.
Originally drafted by the Mariners, Lowe was part of one of the most lopsided traded in modern Major League history. At the trade deadline in 1997, the Red Sox dealt closer Heathcliff Slocumb to Seattle for Lowe and Jason Varitek.
In eight seasons for the Red Sox, Lowe was an effective starter and closer, recording a 70-55 record with a 3.72 ERA and 85 saves. He logged 42 saves as a closer in 2000 and then won 21 games as a starter in 2002.
Of course, the Lowe of 2012 does not remotely resemble the starter who was 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA in 2002 or even the arm that was 16-12 with a 4.00 ERA for Atlanta in 2010. Yet a change of scenery in a destination Lowe embraces could help him regain the form that guided him to the 6-1 record and 2.05 ERA to open the season.
The Red Sox plan to move 26-year-old left-hander Franklin Morales back into the rotation, but with Cook’s struggles and Beckett’s injury, they might have another rotation spot to fill. Atlanta is paying $10 million of Lowe’s $15 million salary this year.