Lowe named Opening Day starter
With a vote of confidence, Braves manager Bobby Cox has announced that Derek Lowe will be his Opening Day starter for the second straight season.
Lowe will take the mound when the Braves open the 2010 season against the Cubs on April 5 at Turner Field. Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson are slated to pitch the other two games against the Cubs that week and Tim Hudson is scheduled to make his season debut on April 9 in San Francisco.
Lowe’s eight scoreless innings against the Phillies on Opening Day last year served as one of the highlights of a season that soured for him down the stretch. But he was provided this honor once again from Cox, who views the veteran sinkerballer as a “big-game” pitcher.
As long as his shoulder cooperates, Jurrjens will start the April 7 game against the Cubs. Hanson would start the series finale the next day. This arrangement provides Hudson a chance to pitch with at least one extra day of rest before each of his first three starts in April.
Hudson made seven starts after returning from Tommy John surgery last year and all indications are that he is healthy. But the club wants to take it easy on him early and possibly be in position to monitor the innings completed by Jurrjens and Hanson during the season’s second half.
“We’re trying to keep (Hudson) strong and ready for the stretch
run, so that we can run him out there as often as we can and give Hanson and
Jurrjens a chance to be the guys that get the extra days in the second half,” Cox said.
Lowe would likely return to the mound for the April10 game in San Francisco. Kenshin Kawakami would make his regular season debut the following day during the series finale against the Giants.
Grapefruit League rotation:
Tues @ Mets — Hanson
Wed vs. Mets — Hudson (Moylan and O’Flaherty also scheduled to pitch)
Thurs. vs. Pirates — Kawakami
Fri. vs. Nats — Lowe (Saito and Wagner also scheduled to pitch)
Sat. @Astros — Medlen
Jurrjens will begin throwing off the mound again on Monday and after at least three side sessions, he could slot into the spot currently filled by Medlen.