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Mark Lowe joins Dodgers on minor league contract with non-roster invitation

The right-hander had a 3.43 ERA in 36 games in relief for the Rangers in 2012.

Rick Yeatts

The Dodgers on Friday added to the competition for the final few bullpen spots with the signing of Mark Lowe to a minor league contact, with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

The Dodgers were among seven teams scouting Lowe at a throw day in Peoria on Jan. 30, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

There are 18 confirmed non-roster invitees to big league camp at Camelback Ranch, including six pitchers and four catchers. Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to camp on Tuesday, with the first workout scheduled for Wednesday.

Lowe was 0-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 36 games for the Texas Rangers last season, with 28 strikeouts and 13 walks in 39⅓ innings. His strikeout rate of 17.3% of batters faced in 2012 was the worst of his career. Lowe had a 2.00 ERA heading into the season's final month, but he allowed runs in four of his five September outings and was left off the Rangers' roster for their wild card game.

He missed 36 games, including all of July, with a right intercostal strain (ribs), and after returning from the disabled list had just three strikeouts and five walks among his 41 batters faced. Lowe struck out just one of the final 26 batters he faced on the season, with three walks. Lowe's fastball has consistently been among the fastest in baseball on average, 95.4 mph for his career. But after years of 96.3, 95.5, and 96.8 mph, Lowe's fastball dipped to 93.9 mph in 2012.

Lowe, who turns 30 in June, has spent the entirety of his career in the American League West, including the first 4½ years of his career with the Seattle Mariners before moving on to Texas.

Lowe took the loss in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, as he allowed an 11th inning walk-off home run to David Freese. His postseason experience consists of four World Series games pitched in 2010 and 2011 with Texas, and he allowed at least one run in all four games. His 37.80 ERA (seven runs in 1⅔ innings) is the second worst in World Series history.

With Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, and Matt Guerrier occupying five relief roles, there will be quite a competition for the final two spots in the bullpen. In addition to fellow non-roster invitee Peter Moylan, Lowe will have to battle with Shawn Tolleson, Javy Guerra, and Paco Rodriguez, plus whomever of the eight starting pitchers under contract that are healthy, don't make the rotation, and are non traded.