By: T.J. Zuppe
Right-handed pitcher Derek Lowe had some issues he needed to work through in the offseason. Following a September collapse by the Braves, he had a pretty good idea it would be somewhere else.
Atlanta dealt the veteran righty to the Indians on the last day of October and from that moment, Lowe knew he would have to work even harder to improve on his disappointing season in 2011.
After all, the 38-year old hurler lost 17 games last season. He attributed his performance to one big factor when he chatted with members of the Cleveland media on conference call.
“I got in such a mechanical funk… and I couldn’t stop it,” Lowe said. “We tried to change it in a short period of time and it didn’t happen.
“You learn from what you were doing and you make sure you don’t do it again.”
He has already started working on those mechanics over the last month, making positive muscle memory a top goal in the coming months.
Lowe is ready for the challenge and is excited to pitch again for a good ballclub. He joined the Really Big Show on ESPN 850 WKNR and noted not every team can compete. That is why he is excited to join the Tribe.
One thing you do not doubt is his durability. An innings eater, Lowe regularly comes close to 200 innings and 30 starts every season.
Even though he admitted some luck is involved, the rest is no accident.
“Hard work is something that I’ve always kind of believed in,” Lowe said. “I love the game. I enjoy putting in the time. For me, its more mental. It’s putting in the time and effort to be able to make every start.
“That is the number one important thing; to be able to pitch every five days.”
One of the biggest reasons general manager Chris Antonetti invested five million dollars to add such a playoff veteran pitcher was the influence he could have on a young rotation. Headed by righties Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, the starting staff could use a back-end anchor with leadership qualities.
Lowe takes pride in that role.
“Spring training is going to be so important for everybody,” Lowe said about getting to know his new teammates, on WKNR. “I love working with young pitchers to try and advance their career, and that is what I’m going to try to do.”
Lastly, Lowe spoke highly of his new place of work.
“I feel that city is a great baseball city, Lowe said of Cleveland. “We have got to work harder to get those people back in the stadium.”
If he rebounds to win double digits, posts 200 innings and leads the team to the playoffs, he will have done his part. That should not be so hard, right?
Follow TJ on Twitter @TJZuppe