LOWE HEADED FOR MAJOR LEAGUES
July 7, 2006
ARLINGTON, Texas - Former UT Arlington right hander Mark Lowe arrived in Tacoma, Wash. yesterday afternoon as the newest member of the Triple A Tacoma Rainiers. After staying in a local hotel last night, he headed to Cheney Stadium for his first game. While getting dressed, Lowe was informed that he would not be playing in Triple A, but instead making the 40 minute trip to Seattle to don the uniform of the Major League Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners open a three-game homestand with the first-first place Detroit Tigers tonight at 9:05 CST at Safeco Field. Lowe is expected to make his debut during this series, quite possibly tonight.
"I am speechless," said Lowe during his drive to Seattle. "I am still in shock. Just a few hours ago I was putting on a Tacoma Rainiers uniform and now I am on my way to Safeco Field."
"I just have to continue to do what I have been doing all season. The mound is still 60 feet, six inches from home plate and the only difference is there will be more people in the stands watching. I am not just satisfied with getting, I am here to stay."
Lowe (Missouri City, Texas) has blazed his way through the Mariners minor league organization after being selected in the fifth round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft. The Mariners did not have a pick in the first three rounds and selected Lowe with their second overall selection.
The Mariners saw in Lowe a tall, right hander with a mid-90s fastball. Now what they have is a gutty reliever with a 94-98 mph fastball with an upper 80s slider.
"I put in a lot of work in the off-season developing my slider," said Lowe. "You need to have a second pitch to be successful. Without my slider, I wouldn't be where I am today."
The first stop was the Northwest League where he pitched for the Everett Aqua Sox of Short Season Class A. He appeared in 18 games and went 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA and seven saves. He would strikeout 38 hitters in 38.1 innings.
Lowe was converted into a starter in 2005 and got the call on opening day for the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League. After getting off to a strong start, Lowe battled through some arm soreness and finished the season with a 6-6 mark and a 5.47 ERA in 22 starts.
Back in the bullpen in 2006, Lowe overmatched the competition while playing for the Class A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers of the California League. Lowe appeared in 13 games for the 66ers with two starts. He went 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA and two saves. He allowed 10 runs, six earned, on 14 hits over 29.1 innings. He walked 11, but struck out 46.
Lowe returned to his home state and made his debut for the Double A San Antonio Missions on June 3. He did not allow a run over his first seven outings spanning 11 innings. As the closer, he went 0-2 with a 2.16 ERA and four saves in 11 appearances. He allowed four runs on 14 hits with 14 punchouts in 16.2 innings.
"I owe a lot to my pitching coach last year Brad Holman," said Lowe. "He helped me to understand my delivery and figure out what I was doing. He helped me to be able to figure out what I did wrong on the next pitch, instead of three or four pitches later. He stuck with me through a rough year and talked to me about the mental aspect of the game and how to always think positive."
At Inland Empire, pitching coach Scott Budner continued to teach me the mental aspects of the game and helped me put it all together. As long as I stay positive, there is nowhere to go but up."
Lowe spent two seasons in a Maverick uniform and compiled a record of 2-6 with a 4.73 ERA and four saves. He began his career in 2002 as a middle reliever and midweek starter. He went 1-2 with one save in 11 appearances, three starts. After redshirting in 2003, Lowe was used in every aspect out of the bullpen. He started the year as a setup guy before taking over as the closer and then becoming the team's Sunday starter.
Lowe now becomes the fifth former Maverick to make it to the major's, and the second in as many year's. Lowe's teammate in 2002, Daniel Ortmeier made his debut for the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 5, 2005. Other UTA players to play in the major's include Dave Owen (Chicago Cubs, 1983-85 and Kansas City Royals, 1988), Steve Foster (Cincinnati Reds, 1991-93), John Lackey (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 2002-present) and Ortmeier (Giants, 2005-06).