Mark Lowe: Lovin' Life in Everett

RHP Mark Lowe, the Mariners 5th round pick in last month's MLB Draft, has worked his way into the Everett rotation after pitching very well in his first six outings. InsidethePark's Joe Kaiser talked to him recently about his adjustment to the pros and the keys to pitching in a hitter's park like Everett Memorial Stadium. Lowe takes the pill to the hill tonight against Yakima, making only his second career start.

Mark Lowe started the season in the bullpen, and the team extended his time on the mound in each of his appearances to work up his arm strength so he could work his way into a starters role. First it was one inning, then two, then three, then four. Barring troubles, tonight's game with Yakima could very well be his longest outing yet.

In his first-career pro start, which came Saturday on the road against Tri Cities, the 6-foot-4 right-hander was on a 75-pitch pitch count. After a 30-pitch first inning, he knew his time on the mound would be short-lived. Still, Lowe lasted through the fourth, allowing one run on six hits. He also struck out four.

Feeling good about the way he's adjusted to the pro ranks, Lowe feels confident heading into his seventh appearance of the season. In 14.2 innings so far, the University of Texas-Arlington product has a 3.68 ERA with 15 strikeouts to go with it.

He says Everett pitching coach Marcos Garcia has been a tremendous help by hammering home certain points.

"You always want to keep the ball down," said Lowe. "That's what Marcos beats into us. When you come out here (in Everett) you really have to focus on doing that. If you make a mistake up a little fly ball is a home run out here. Even on the road, you have to focus on keeping the ball down like you are pitching here."

At Everett Memorial Stadium, the home ballpark of the AquaSox, all of right field is basically a homer porch. Left-handed hitters love the place. Pitchers hate it, and judging by the way some lazy fly balls have drifted over the wall for home runs this year, it's easy to see why.

Nevertheless, Lowe says playing in a small ballpark like Everett Memorial has helped him as a pitcher in only a short time. For one, he's been able to adjust on the mound and do things he wouldn't normally do.

"The majority of hitters are right-handed and pitching them away they've got that short porch out there so you've really got to keep the ball down and you also have to learn how to throw the ball in on those guys because it's deeper to left field," he said. "I feel a lot more comfortable busting guys in than I used to because that's all we do now. It's in-in-in and then we throw guys away every now and then. It's been a learning experience, and it's been really fun so far."

Lowe says his first month with the AquaSox has been all he could have expected.

"It's everything I've ever dreamed of doing," said the 21-year-old, his blond hair flowing out of his hat. "It's just one step closer to where I've always wanted to be.

"Every morning you wake up and you are living your dream and you enjoy doing what you do."

Has that initial feeling of excitement started to wear off for Lowe, even a little bit?

"Not at all," he said. "I don't think it ever will. I think I was born to do this. I love it."

What he'd love even more is to get in the win column for the first time tonight against the Bears.

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