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.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.