Notes: Strikes a problem for Lowry
Lefty issues nine walks; Molina predicts late-week return
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Noah Lowry's nightmare under sunlight Monday resulted in one of the most horrific outings a pitcher can endure.Lowry followed an erratic performance in last Thursday's Cactus League opener with an appearance that almost defied belief. He walked nine of the 12 Texas Rangers batters he faced and allowed four first-inning runs in the Giants' 8-6, 10-inning exhibition loss. Lowry didn't give up a hit, mainly because he threw so few hittable pitches. Twelve of his 50 pitches were strikes, bringing his two-game totals to 58 balls, 27 strikes and 12 walks in 23 batters faced over 2 1/3 innings. Lowry was so disgusted that he refused to speak to reporters and instead issued a statement, but manager Bruce Bochy related that the left-hander struggled to grip the ball, a common Spring Training complaint among pitchers trying to cope with the dry Arizona air. Bochy insisted that Lowry, who missed last season's final month with elbow tightness, felt fine physically. "There's not much to say when you don't go out and throw any strikes," Lowry told a club spokesman. "I'm just upset. I'm upset that my spring has started the way it has." Until Lowry rights himself, the Giants will privately wonder whether their No. 3 starter is following the path set by the likes of Steve Blass, Mark Wohlers and Rick Ankiel -- talented, successful pitchers who suddenly couldn't find the strike zone. Before leaving the clubhouse, Lowry studied videotape to examine his pitching motion. "He's going to have to deal with it," Bochy said. "But he's a tough enough kid. He'll bounce back." Right-hander Kevin Correia, Lowry's offseason workout partner, expressed complete confidence in his teammate and friend. "He's one of the most mentally tough guys on this team," Correia said. "I don't think an outing like that is going to shake him from his goals." It would shake lesser men, however. Lowry threw six balls to start the game and walked the first five hitters. He didn't prompt a swing from a Rangers batter until his 25th pitch, when Ben Broussard hit a sacrifice fly. The Rangers batted around in the first inning without recording an official at-bat until Ian Kinsler flied to center for the final out. Before that, Lowry walked seven and allowed two sacrifice flies.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.