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03/07/06 6:29 PM ET

Lowe pleased with new additions

Dodgers pitcher chats with fans online from Vero Beach

Dodgers starting pitcher Derek Lowe chatted with fans online Tuesday from Spring Training camp in Vero Beach, Fla. Lowe talked about the upcoming season and answered questions about how he prepares for each start, the Dodgers pitching staff and playing for manager Grady Little.

uclabruinsean: Hey Derek, what's it like having your manager being your old coach from the Red Sox?

Lowe: It's great that he got another opportunity to manage again. I think he got a raw deal in Boston after the 2003 season. He's a great manager to play for, an easy manager to play for and it's not an accident why we have a lot of Red Sox playing for this guy. All he's ever done is win. It's a great addition to our club.

dodgerfanrob22: Who was your favorite baseball player or athlete growing up?

Lowe: My favorite athlete was Alan Trammell, the shortstop for the Tigers. I played shortstop in high school and I idolized him and the way he acted as a professional on the field. And he put up tremendous numbers.

Base_Ball: Who are the guys that you hang out with most on the team and in baseball in general? Thanks, and I hope you have a great year this year.

Lowe: From this year's team, I hang out with Jayson Werth, D.J. Houlton and Brad Penny, but I still have a lot of contact with Bronson Arroyo of the Red Sox and Jeff Weaver was my golfing buddy, but he's obviously no longer here.

Amy_Pidancet: How do you mentally prepare yourself for a big game?

Lowe: By preparing for the upcoming team. I study video, sit down with the coaching staff and catcher and have a game plan for what I want to do. The biggest thing is, no matter what happens on the field, you have to stick to the game plan. And of course, you have to have fun. Big games are what you play for. Be prepared and enjoy the moment.

blueblood24: With the possibility of having the best bullpen in baseball, how does this affect your confidence?

Lowe: It shortens up the game for us. We may not have to pitch as many innings, but by far, Eric Gagné is the biggest addition we'll get from last year's team. Having a dominant closer puts fear in the other team. Now you've got Yhency Brazoban and Danys Baez from the seventh inning on, three established closers. But as a starting pitcher, our goal is to go nine innings, but if you have to turn the ball over to anybody, Gagné is the best in the game.

uclabruinsean: This is kind of a hard question to answer, but when someone hits a home run off of you, what goes through your mind?

Lowe: Obviously you made a mistake, but I have no problem with guys watching home runs. Sometimes I watch them. It's fun to sit back and enjoy a guy getting the best of you. That's the beauty of the game. It's competition, sometimes they get you and sometimes you get them.

Sean_Whitman: I was wondering if you have been able to see some of the younger pitchers in the Dodgers organization such as Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton?

Lowe: I have not seen Billingsley, he pitches tomorrow. But I saw Broxton last year and they're worthy of all the accolades they get. They're young with tremendous arms, but they don't have egos. They show up every day and work hard. We're very lucky with not only those two guys, but the best Minor League system, so it'll be fun to watch their progress over the next two or three years.

Barbara_Adelman: How does it feel working with some of your old teammates, Bill Mueller, Nomar Garciaparra and former manager Grady Little?

Lowe: It's great to see these guys. We had a lot of good years together and won a lot of games together. It's great to have them back as part of the team. For me, I don't have to try to get to know these guys. The biggest thing is, they're winners. I know Nomar's learning a new position, but he's very driven to get back to where he was as a shortstop, so look for a very good year from him this year.

uclabruinsean: Who do you think, besides yourself, is the best pitcher is in the Major Leagues?

Lowe: I would say Jake Peavy from San Diego. You've got to always put Roger Clemens in that group and Roy Oswalt and Mariano Rivera. There's four guys I believe are some of the best.

leftinthewake49: Which team are you looking forward to playing against?

Lowe: I look forward to playing against Boston eventually. I've got two years left on my contract, so I hope we get to go back to Fenway where I played for so many years. And Yankee Stadium, because those are two of the best ballparks in the land.

etennyson: Which are better, Dodger Dogs or Fenway Franks?

Lowe: I'm going to have to go with Dodger Dogs. I never had a Fenway Frank. The only problem with the Dodger Dog is that it's too skinny, so you have to eat more to fill up. The Fenway Frank is a little more plump.

Robert_Hurst: Can you really hit a golf ball 350 yards? How's your game?

Lowe: I can hit it 350 yards downwind, downhill. My golf game is, like most amateurs, very inconsistent. I enjoy playing. One of the perks of being a starting pitcher is getting to play a lot of courses. I am a five handicap, but I've lost a lot of money off that five.

Joe_Falzone: Why do you wear No. 23?

Lowe: Because I wore the No. 32 and coming over to Los Angeles, that was unavailable due to Mr. Sandy Koufax, so it was easiest for me to flip the numbers around.

Pedro_Carrillo: How much of your workout is weight lifting?

Lowe: We work with weights three times a week. Twice in between each start, one day upper body and one day lower. But the biggest thing is running. Cardio for starting pitchers is a lot more important than lifting weights.

walterbigsley: Have you figured out a way of preventing those nasty blisters on your throwing hand?

Lowe: Yes. I changed my grip the last eight weeks of the season. It was an ongoing problem I had for three years, so I knew I had to do something. One day in the bullpen, I took my thumb off of the seam, so hopefully that will prevent the nagging blisters I've had for three years.

Base_Ball: What is your opinion of the World Baseball Classic?

Lowe: I don't like it, just because the time of the year it is. If we could get it at the end of the season, you'd be able to see a lot more of the big name players participating. But baseball is already so globally accepted, some teams have just as many foreign players as you do Americans. It'll be interesting to see how important this is for the American fans. I know for a lot of the Dominican fans and Puerto Rican fans, it's huge. I just hope the U.S. fans do rally around this team because it is important to win for the United States.

Pedro_Carrillo: How do you feel about the Dodger pitching rotation and the new coaching staff? Can you win?

Lowe: Of course we can win. Coming off last year, we needed a lot of changes and it wasn't necessary from the coaching staff, but we definitely needed a different group of players. I think they did a tremendous job of getting veteran, playoff proven players. Like every team, health is the most important thing. If we can keep the 25 guys on the field that we leave Spring Training with, we have as good a chance as any.

oleskoo: What is your key to staying healthy over a long season and getting those 200-plus innings?

Lowe: Conditioning. You've got to put the work in. You've got to lift weights and most important, you've got to run. I've really tried to do that over my career and knock on wood, I've never been on the disabled list.

uclabruinsean: Do you have any suggestions for a guy who is in 11th grade and has been talked to by a few scouts but his mom wants him to go to college?

Lowe: I think college is always the best way to go, but it also depends on how high you get picked. If you're in the top 5 or 10 rounds, it's foolish maybe not to go into the Minor Leagues because you're not going to upgrade your draft status. But, if you're a low round pick, go to college and hopefully you'll get bigger and stronger and move up on the draft chart.

Ryan_Clubb: What's your favorite baseball memory?

Lowe: I'm actually tied. I think the no-hitter was more of an individual accomplishment that more than likely, I'll never do again. To have that thrill was incredible. And of course, winning a World Series in the city of Boston, to have a parade with almost 4 million people and how exciting it was to see a whole city get behind a whole team. Coming back from down 3-0 and winning eight in a row. Those two are probably tied.

alcsexpert: What's your favorite course in Southern California that you have played?

Lowe: I would say, again, tied between Bel Air Country Club and Riviera. I think they're both fantastic courses. The beauty of Los Angeles is the old, traditional courses. It's very similar to Brookline in Boston. Not to say I've played well on either one of them, but you never know what celebrities are going to be out there. It's a thrill when you do get an invite to go play.

asdffasf: How did you perfect your sinker? Are there any practice drills for it?

Lowe: Nothing. I hold my sinker pretty much like everyone else in baseball. The only way I can describe it is maybe my height and arm angle, throwing two or three feet across my body. Those things combined maybe allow my ball to sink more than others. I don't do anything like scuff the ball or anything like that! If anything, it's a God-given ability to throw a ball and have it sink.

Ryan_Clubb: What CD is in your CD player right now?

Lowe: Five country and one dance. I'm all over the map when it comes to music, but if I had to pick one, I'm definitely a Keith Urban fan.

lizbeth727: Other than Dodger Stadium, what is your favorite stadium to pitch in? Least favorite? Good luck this year.

Lowe: Favorite place is Yankee Stadium because of the history and tradition and excitement of playing there. My least favorite, I would say is Milwaukee. I don't enjoy anything about that park. I'm not a huge fan of that city and it's a poor atmosphere to play in.

woody1473: Is there any hitter who has your number and you can't get him out?

Lowe: Jose Cruz Jr., by far. It was the best thing that ever happened to me last year when we traded for him. If you ask him the same question, he'll tell you it's me. I can't explain it, I don't know why. But this goes back to five or six years ago.

uclabruinsean: If you weren't a baseball player what would you be?

Lowe: I would probably be a gym teacher and a basketball coach. I would do something in the sporting category and I love basketball and coaching younger kids. Probably a basketball coach because education wasn't one of my strengths.

Lowe: Thank you guys for taking part in this chat today. We hope to see you at Dodger Stadium later this year.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.