CLEVELAND -- Leaning against his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at Progressive Field on Friday, veteran pitcher Derek Lowe let out a slight laugh when asked if he had any bitterness over being released by the Indians earlier this month.
"Heck, no," said Lowe, who now pitches for the Yankees. "Bitterness? I was happy they kept giving me the ball every five games. This sport is about performance. It's not about anything other than that.
"That was the situation I put myself in. They were great. The organization was fantastic."
Last winter, Cleveland made Lowe its first major acquisition of the offseason when the club landed the sinkerballer in a trade with Atlanta. Over 21 starts for the Tribe, the 39-year-old Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA before being released on Aug. 10.
The Yankees picked him up on Aug. 13 and handed him a role in their bullpen.
Lowe was not sure he would have another job offer.
"For the first time in 20 years, I didn't have a place to go," Lowe said. "I was honest with myself. I even told [my agent] Scott Boras, I said, 'I'm not coming back pitching like I was. If I can't go back and find something that I can compete again with, then I'll just stay home.'
"Because that was not even competitive pitching. I know you guys know that."
Over his final 13 starts for Cleveland, Lowe went 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA. It was a drastic dropoff from his first eight outings, during which the pitcher went 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA for Cleveland. Under the circumstances, Lowe had a feeling his time with the Tribe was nearing an end.
"I'm not going to say that I didn't feel like maybe something was going to happen," Lowe said. "The [last] two months was obviously bad. I knew they had some younger guys in the Minor Leagues that they maybe wanted to give a chance to."