Acta equally puzzled by Lowe's struggles

Acta equally puzzled by Lowe's struggles

KANSAS CITY -- Indians manager Manny Acta is as baffled as anyone else over Derek Lowe's sudden decline in performance. Age catches up with the best of people, but Lowe's regression was as swift as it was ugly.

"I don't have an answer for it," Acta said on Thursday. "I just don't know how it could happen in the middle of the season like that. I know we're all human and we all reach a point, but he was pretty good earlier in the year."

Cleveland officially designated the 39-year-old Lowe for assignment on Thursday, opening a roster spot for the promotion of Triple-A Columbus starter Corey Kluber, who technically replaced Josh Tomlin in the rotation. The Indians have not announced who will take Lowe's spot for Sunday's start against Detroit.

The Tribe has 10 days to trade or release Lowe, or the organization could outright him to a Minor League affiliate if he were to clear waivers. That last scenario seems unlikely, but Acta believes Lowe will latch on with another team.

"I think so," Acta said. "This guy is in very good shape. You should see what this guy does on those four days between starts. That's why I never felt that age or anything was an issue. This guy works like a beast preparing himself every five days."

The Orioles and Red Sox have already been reported as possible landing spots for Lowe. The sinkerballer planned on heading to Florida this week to work with pitching mechanics specialist Chris Correnti, who works in Baltimore's system. Lowe pitched for Boston from 1997-2004.

In 21 starts for the Indians this season, Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA, which is a drastic drop-off from his stellar start. Lowe stormed out of the gates with a 6-1 record and an American League-leading 2.05 ERA through eight outings before the bottom fell out on his season.

Over his last 13 starts, Lowe went 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA, allowing 65 runs (61 earned) on 97 hits with 28 strikeouts and 28 walks over 66 1/3 innings.

"He was so good the first two months of the season for us," said Acta, who added that it was difficult to deliver the news to Lowe. "It is hard to break the news to everybody, but especially when it's a guy who has such a good career at the Major League level. It's something I've always dreaded."