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Lowe doubtful for ALDS due to left hamstring strain

The Sports Xchange

Mark Lowe likely will be unavailable for the first round of the postseason -- should the Rangers clinch the AL West -- after tests Thursday revealed a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring.

Every Grade 1 strain -- a less severe injury -- suffered by a Ranger this year has resulted in at least a 15-day absence. Lowe was given an injection of platelet-rich plasma to accelerate the healing process.

The Rangers' roster for the first round of the postseason would have to be set before the playoff opener Sept. 30. Teams can adjust rosters from one round to the next, however.

"We're not going to definitively say anything," general manager Jon Daniels said of Lowe's status. "The stress on a short reliever's legs is different than on that of a full-time position player. It certainly puts his availability in doubt, but we will see what happens."

The Rangers, whose magic number for clinching is down to two despite a 4-3 loss to Oakland on Thursday, have four spots set in a seven-man bullpen: closer Neftali Feliz, setup man Mike Adams and lefty specialists Darren Oliver and Michael Gonzalez.

They likely will move right-hander Alexi Ogando, a setup reliever last year, from the rotation into the bullpen for the playoffs to pitch the seventh inning. Right-hander Koji Uehara has had three consecutive sharp outings after a rough stretch, and he probably will land a middle-relief spot.

If Lowe is unavailable, the Rangers would be left to choose between right-hander Scott Feldman, who is really a long man; right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama, who hasn't pitched in 12 days; and a slew of relievers who have made only cameo appearances for the team this season.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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