Derek Lowe is looking for a team that will let him start

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Despite finishing the year in the Yankees’ bullpen Derek Lowe said at the beginning of the offseason that he wanted to be a starter in 2013 and apparently he’s sticking with that plan.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Lowe “has heard from five teams, all of which want him to be a swingman” and is currently turning down those inquiries.

“I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts,” Lowe told Cafardo. “I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”

Lowe is right about the never being injured and always making 30 starts thing. He made 30-plus starts every season from 2002-2011 and likely would have done so this year if he hadn’t been bumped from the rotation for performance reasons. Of course, that’s not exactly a positive thing and during the past two seasons Lowe has a 17-27 record and 5.23 ERA in 55 starts while managing just 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

At some point health and durability cease being valuable for a pitcher when he can’t get hitters out any longer and teams seem to think Lowe has reached that point at age 39. If he does get a chance to start in 2013 it will almost surely come via minor-league contract.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.