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Rangers designate Derek Lowe for assignment; retirement on deck?

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

The Rangers have designated Derek Lowe for assignment.
The Rangers have designated Derek Lowe for assignment. (USATSI)

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The Texas Rangers have recalled right-hander Josh Lindblom from Triple-A Round Rock -- in advance of his scheduled start Monday night against the Athletics -- and in a corresponding move designated Derek Lowe for assignment.

Lindblom, 25, has 101 career appearances in the majors, but Monday night will mark his first career start. He came over to the Rangers in the Michael Young trade this past offseason and is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in his transition to starter at the minor-league level.

On the surface, this is a relatively minor transaction, but the interesting part of the news here is the chance that Lowe's big-league career is over.

As is the case when players are DFA'd, the Rangers have 10 days to trade or release Lowe, or else he can accept his assignment to the minors. And, sure, it's possible someone will pick Lowe up, but it seems just as likely he's heading toward forced retirement.

Lowe turns 40 on June 1 and has logged 2,671 1/3 innings in his 17-year big-league career. He's had what should be considered a very admirable career, going 176-157 with 86 saves and a 4.03 career ERA (109 ERA-plus). He's a two-time All-Star and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2002. He was also a key member of the Red Sox's rotation in 2004 when they won their first World Series in decades.

But in the past three seasons, Lowe's been pretty awful. From 2011-present, in 81 appearances -- 55 of which were starts -- Lowe is 19-28 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He had some success out of the bullpen with the Yankees down the stretch last season, but otherwise he's been a disaster. This season he's coughed up 16 hits and 13 earned runs in 13 innings. He's also allowed four of his eight inherited runners to score, which is a poor rate.

If this is it for Lowe, let us all tip our collective caps to him for a good career.

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